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  3. 10 Character traits that you want to have to develop in your career
10 Character traits that you want to have to develop in your career

10 Character traits that you want to have to develop in your career

  • What are character traits?
  • Top 10 positive character traits
  • 1. Confidence
  • 2. Integrity
  • 3. Creativity
  • 4. Team player
  • 5. Resilience
  • 6. Curiosity
  • 7. Motivation
  • 8. Flexibility
  • 9. Compassion
  • 10. Patience
  • 11 Character traits that can limit your career
  • Key takeaways

Personal growth and development is vital to advancing in your career. One critical component of this journey is to boost your self-awareness and cultivate character traits that will help you thrive in the workplace. Read on to find the top 10 character traits you want to develop in your career.

Whether you’re just starting out in the workforce, pursuing a new career, or looking to secure a promotion, understanding and building your self-awareness of your unique character traits can help you progress in both your personal and professional life. In the context of the workplace, employers are always on the lookout for candidates who demonstrate the positive character traits as this will ensure they are happy, productive, and successful in their roles. 

In this article we’ll explore the character traits that you want to develop in your career, including:

  • What are character traits?

  • Top 10 positive character traits

  • Character traits that can limit your career

Statistical Insight

Research by Dr Blaine Landis, an associate professor at UCL School of Management, found that personality plays a vital role in how well you fit into the job, team, and company, as well as your ongoing career success. Landis recently stated, “Personality will affect whether people are hired, promoted, derailed, will help others, be seen as a leader, and so on.” 

What are character traits?

Character traits are a combination of the individual qualities and attributes that express who you are as a person. These traits blend together to form your beliefs, behaviors, and personality, that in turn, allow others to understand you on both a personal and professional level. Positive traits can contribute to a great working environment, strong performance, and career advancement. On the flip side, negative traits can be extremely limiting and really damage your career. 

Top 10 positive character traits

There are tons of positive character traits that can help you develop in your career. Here’s a selection of the top traits that will ensure you keep moving onwards and upwards: 

1. Confidence

According to workplace coach and author Bonnie Low-Kramen, confidence is the number one trait that is needed to be successful in the workplace. People with higher confidence levels have the ability to make impactful decisions even under pressure and are more likely to land a job, contract, or client. In Low-Kramen’s latest book, she recommends perfecting your speaking skills (both in person and in public), stop apologizing unnecessarily, and establish achievable goals to boost your self-esteem and confidence levels. 

2. Integrity

Integrity encompasses a wealth of top-notch character traits, including good judgment, honesty, loyalty, and dependability. Demonstrating that you have integrity tells a hiring manager that you have strong morals and principles that you can apply to make good decisions and contribute toward their organization’s success. 

3. Creativity

One trait that can set you apart in a competitive, global workplace is creativity. Coming up with fresh concepts and innovative ideas helps businesses keep moving forward onto bigger and better things. You may have natural creativity skills, but you can still develop your creative skills over time by completing activities and exercises such as reading and writing.

4. Team player

Everyone working toward a common goal is at the core of teamwork. There’s a distinct difference between being on a team and being a team player. An individual can be part of a team, but if they don’t contribute toward the common goal then they aren’t a team player. Employers are always on the lookout for great team players. During an interview it’s a good idea to provide specific examples of successful teamwork.

5. Resilience

Resilience can be an underrated trait, but possessing strong mental, emotional, and social skills can help you bounce back from adversity and stress, learn from challenging situations, and adapt to changing circumstances. 

6. Curiosity

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but according to psychologist Mario Livio, curiosity is the best remedy for fear. We’re often afraid of the unknown; overcoming that fear is one way you’re going to boost your knowledge, be able to provide creative ideas and solutions, and advance your career.

7. Motivation

Motivation is intrinsically linked with success. Motivated people get things done, with a drive to succeed, commitment to the team, and a passion for their work. For long-term career goals, motivation is an extremely positive trait. 

8. Flexibility

Being flexible means being able to adapt to changing demands and situations, such as dealing with changing client requirements or putting in extra hours to make sure a deadline is met. If you adopt an inflexible stance in these situations that’s not likely to sit well with your boss and could mean you miss out on special projects or even a potential promotion.

9. Compassion

One trait that can be tricky to master (unless you’re born with it) is compassion. The ability to put your impulsivity to one side, stand in someone else's shoes, and see their point of view, as well as take action to ensure positive outcomes is a real asset. This becomes increasingly important if your job involves dealing with clients or working in professions such as nursing. 

10. Patience

If your co-workers and boss view you as a patient person that has the ability to be collaborative, focused, and productive, you’re likely to be respected and regarded as the go-to person at work. On the other hand, impatient people who regularly lose their cool are often viewed as arrogant or hot-headed, leading to a bad reputation and missed opportunities.

  • Include character traits in your resume and cover letter. Check the job description for keywords such as creativity and flexibility, then include these in core sections.
  • Forget to bring up your character traits in an interview. Weave this into your responses to behavioral and situational questions so you can demonstrate them in action.

11 Character traits that can limit your career

Psychologists Robert and Joyce Hogan identified 11 character traits that can actually limit your career. These “dark-side traits” can be damaging if carried to the extreme, with most people exhibiting at least three. Here’s a breakdown of the 11 traits:

  1. Bold. Lots of confidence and focused on positives, but this can lead to overconfidence, entitlement, and risky decisions.

  2. Cautious. Being too cautious and overly concerned about making mistakes can damage your ability to take the initiative and embrace change, leading to poor decision-making.

  3. Colorful. If you love being the center of attention (and a bit of drama!) then you could exhibit the colorful trait. While you may be well liked at work, this can become a problem if you are easily distracted and interrupt others. 

  4. Diligent. Meticulous, reliable, and precise. This can be a great thing, but can also lead to a failure to delegate work and co-workers feeling inadequate compared with your very high standards.

  5. Dutiful. People-pleasers! Easy to work with, but not someone who likes to express an opinion so can’t be relied on for critical thinking.

  6. Excitable. Lots of enthusiasm for ideas, people, and projects, but then easily becomes disappointed, annoyed, and unpredictable.

  7. Imaginative. Creativity and a unique perspective can lead to pure brilliance, but when extreme can be seen as eccentric, distracting, and disruptive at work.

  8. Leisurely. No one enjoys working with a stubborn co-worker! Leisurely types tend to want things done on their own terms, procrastinate, and can get resentful.

  9. Mischievous. Risk-taking, limit-testing, and excitement seekers, which can lead to problems when trying to achieve long-term goals.

  10. Reserved. Aloof and indifferent is often how the reserved trait is viewed. Reserved individuals prefer to work independently and expect others to feel the same.   

  11. Skeptical. Smart and perceptive, but distrustful, cynical, and sensitive, leading to impaired critical thinking and poor working relationships.

Left to their own devices, these dark-side traits can cause havoc in the workplace and potentially damage your career advancement. Focus on building your self-awareness if you identify with any of these traits, so you can take some action to quell their negative effects.

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Key takeaways

  1. When marketing yourself via your resume, cover letter, and interviews, aim to showcase your positive character traits as these can really resonate with the hiring manager.

  2. Honing your positive character traits can help your career advance. Recognition in the workplace and promotions tend to be given to positive and proactive employees.

  3. Develop a strong self-awareness of all your traits as some can be damaging to your career if left unchecked.

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