12 Most Marvelous Assets You Can Offer Your Company
We hear a lot of talk about generational differences, employing Gen-Y’s vs. Boomers… Millennial vs. Gen X… the terms fly around, businesses try and keep up, people discuss all these “issues” in management but in reality it’s all noise.
All we are talking about here are people. People with skill sets, mindsets and varied attributes and abilities — every generation shares them. At the core, despite these generational “categories,” there are some attributes which are “gen”-less. Companies need to identify the specific skills they need to succeed and make judgments based on that, people need to highlight their own skills instead of focusing on their age groups and “Gen Traits”. Regardless of your age, your experience, your status, there are attributes that equal success.
If you show these qualities, you will break the mold. You will stop facing, what I’ve named, “Genrification,” discrimination based on generational grouping and start being valued as yourself. The more of these that you develop, work on or have, the more successful you will be.
Break the mold: here are the 12 Most Marvelous Assets You Can Offer Your Company regardless of age:
1. Be adaptable and manage change
Change is one of the most difficult things for anyone to deal with. When you respond well to change, keep an open mind and embrace the possibilities, you empower yourself with a quality of great value. In contrast, many people resist change, create conflict and struggle. This doesn’t help an organization move forward. We are living in a time of change, one where the ability to adapt, learn new ways and work with your organization in the direction it is going is key. If you’re committed to this, you’re ahead of the game!
2. Recognize that you are always learning
It does not matter what profession you are in, how many degrees you have or how long you have done something for. There is always something new to learn. You would be surprised (or perhaps not) at how many people think they “know” everything — or are afraid they will look bad if they come across something they don’t know. If you look at life through these eyes, you commit yourself to being stunted. Recognize that you have no way of knowing what others know, that you cannot possibly have learned everything. People who take this approach position themselves to be “always evolving.” People who evolve and who learn willingly are fantastic to work with and can view the world as a fresh and interesting place. Note: saying you “like to learn” is not the same as recognizing you are always learning. Be the person who is always open to possibility, approaching life knowing there is always something to learn.
3. Never say “I know”
Oftentimes, when people ask for help they get an answer and respond with “I know.” It is far more admirable and appreciated to hear someone say, “Oh, cool — I thought it might be something like that” or “Thank you, I was missing that piece to the puzzle” than to hear the words “I know.” If you knew, then it’s likely someone wouldn’t have been explaining it to you. It is okay not to know everything (see point #2). People who ask questions and find positive ways of acknowledging that they just learned something are rare. Admit when you don’t know and ask for help. If you can master this, you will always be well-received in a team, and your general demeanor changes from one of defense to one of collaboration. Collaboration is essential. Companies need team players.
4. Be resourceful and investigative
My last two points covered the benefit of knowing you are always learning and responding to feedback or instruction. Those highlight what qualities are appreciated when you ask for help or receive guidance. Being resourceful and investigative in your approach to work and trying to find answers for yourself before you take up another person’s time is also important. We all have tools , references, experiences we can pull from to try and find answers. Resourceful people make it their business to learn what their resources are, and tend to be far more efficient because of it. They do not try to skip steps by asking others things they could have easily done themselves. Before they waste others time, they do everything they can to find a solution.
If you are resourceful and investigate things before you draw conclusions people will stand up and take notice. Beyond that, being resourceful and investigative will allow you to uncover more possibilities, offer solutions and leads to innovation — another extremely powerful asset driving growth. Think for yourself. Put a resourceful person on a desert island, they will find a way to survive. Put five people who are not resourceful on the same island, they might die asking each other what to do.
5. Be motivated and determined — give it your all
No matter where you are in life, no matter what you do, be committed to give it your all. Too many people waste company time and money doing a job at half steam. Some people think a position is just a stepping stone, so they focus on where they are going instead of what they need to do now. This is a huge mistake. Those who are motivated and determined to do their very best take pride in their work and it is evident — they bring it full force, surpassing expectations, setting goals, they “find a way.” People with dedication bring profit. Companies today suffer from the problem of disengaged employees, anyone who is willing to give it their all is treasured.
6. Value others time, treat everyone with the same importance
People who respect others, who can see the value in every human being around them are not only the most pleasant to work with but are the ones who are likely to drive success based on their ability to collaborate, encourage, motivate and make people feel good. Too many people walk around thinking the whole world revolves around them. People who respect other’s are like a breath of fresh air in a polluted world. This quality benefits everyone in meetings, in the day to day workings of any position, and with clients. Be prepared, bring your game, respect others — this means a lot.
7. Keep the big picture in mind, do not lose focus
Before you react to anything nurture the process in yourself to ask what the big picture looks like. A process that doesn’t make sense to you might have factors contributing to it that are beyond your current line of vision. People who do this when they see conflict, when they hear about change, or when they have an objection can come through things positively, act based on objectives and accomplish goals. Try and put yourself in another’s shoes, see things from different points of view. When things happen to people who are able to step back and see the big picture, it allows them to always move in the right direction and not get hung up on the little things. This also allows people to identify areas of improvement, or new opportunities. If you have this ability you will always accomplish the goals you are working towards. It’s a tremendous asset.
8. Be a strong communicator
Communicating means listening too. Take the time to listen, observe body language and truly be present in your communications. When something bothers you, when you see something that you question — do exactly that, ask questions, listen, explore possibilities by interacting with the people around you. If you have something on your mind, communicate it clearly, don’t make people read between lines. If there is a problem, speak up. If you have an idea, share it. Someone who truly communicates well is precious. The ability to truly communicate is easily one of the greatest assets for any position.
9. Be the smile
It is not easy staying positive. We face constant challenges in our daily environments: change, difficult clients, technical difficulties, underlying personal issues, general frustrations. We choose how we respond. It is very easy to jump on a bandwagon of frustration or complaint. When this happens, what we really need is some light in our day. Being that light, whether it be with a smile, by working on solutions, or having a positive word to turn things around is arguably one of the biggest gifts you can give. People who can respond positively keep things moving forward. Be the ray of light, it takes work, but it is well worth it.
10. Be reliable
Reliability is essential for anyone who is part of a team, who has a job to do. Showing up, doing what you said you would do, being present consistently — both physically and mentally makes a difference. We have all worked somewhere where we have experienced people who are consistently absent, or who say they will do something and don’t. Being accountable for yourself, taking pride in being reliable is an asset that is recognized and appreciated by employers, team members and clients. Being reliable does not mean being superhuman — everyone gets sick, everyone gets too busy to finish something on schedule. It happens. Being reliable is about self management, about keeping people up to date on your current status, about recognizing that people are relying on you and being there.
11. Be appropriate and professional
Corporations lean more and more towards providing liberal environments that foster growth and development in their employees — at least this is what we hope for. As human beings, we “make” our corporations, we are the workings that create what is within the culture. Those who recognize how to behave, how to treat others with respect, how to live within a culture nurture positive environments, encourage stability and foster the ability for growth. We are each responsible for our part in a company’s success. Alexandra Levit wrote a book called “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College.” The book is geared at 20 something’s and it’s a fantastic resource for all ages.
“Unprofessional behavior” is not limited to people “just leaving college”, it’s seen at all ages, at all levels of success and in all fields. No matter how good your work is, no matter how brilliant you are, professionalism is necessary in all work environments. It’s not measured by a degree or list of accomplishments. It’s the ability to navigate waters without ever stepping on others toes, being diplomatic, being level headed and keeping that smile even when debating a difficult issue. It’s also about keeping “personal” and “emotional” out of the equation; Knowing your place and respecting the role you have, as well as the roles others have to play. If you do not conduct yourself in a professional manner, it makes working with you very difficult. There’s always a professional way to handle something. People who master this are well respected, will advance in their careers and are strong assets to their companies and peers.
12. Know yourself
You should be able to identify for yourself all of your greatest strengths and your greatest weaknesses. Many people feel they have a great deal of self knowledge — yet real self knowledge is one of the hardest things to truly have. It is difficult because it involves examining what is wrong with you, nobody wants to look at that. This knowledge is valuable, hard to come by and should be sought after and appreciated — not dreaded. It’s okay not to be perfect, “nobody is perfect.”
Bite the bullet, ask people around you to share with you where they think you can improve. Don’t be defensive, listen and understand it. If you do not understand or see these qualities, start paying attention, seek this information from multiple sources. Ask the question, “How could I be a bigger asset, what can I do to improve?” A good manager should be a guide in sharing both your strengths and challenges with you. Feedback from others is the greatest gift we can receive, be it negative or positive — it is all important. It allows you to work better in teams, understand what support you need, understand where you can excel. In knowing yourself, you become a better more balanced person.
People who have true self knowledge are the strongest assets to a company because they will position themselves to do their best work, and work through tough spots with a positive approach, constantly developing, growing and providing value for their organization and those around them. The 12 most marvelous assets you can offer your company do not come with age, they come with approach, focus and character. No matter where you are in life or what you are doing if you have these you will be at an advantage.
Putting people in “boxes” and making judgments on age, generational groups or experience alone will only foster a rigid organization that will struggle as the world changes around them. Companies that will succeed today will be the ones that recognize the top qualities individuals can bring and not fall into the trap of stereotyping and discrimination. They will be the ones that will offer people the opportunity to evolve and grow with the company. They will see these core qualities as assets. The individuals and leaders who provide the above will break the mold and flourish.
Let’s start thinking and acting above all the “noise” and focus on the true value and strengths of talent in the workplace today.
- Have you faced challenges because of being placed in a Generational “box”?
- Have you been sidetracked by a person’s generational stereotype when going through the hiring process?
- At the end of the day, isn’t it a group of skills, abilities or qualities like the ones above that truly make you/your star employees shine, or is it really age?
- What skills would you add to this list? What qualities do you value?
Featured image courtesy of cobalt123 via Creative Commons.