Traits of Unique & Fabulous People
I have always been an advocate of inviting unique personalities into the workplace. I love rebels and legitimately creative [even disruptive] individuals. I love ambition, transparency, integrity, and humor [unfortunately, these are very unique traits in most workplaces]. I love people who are authentic and honest human beings with passion, enthusiasm, and honorable intentions. I love people that are a little quirky and who go out of their way not to be like everyone else. Most of these qualities are not something that the average organizations seeks to find in candidates. And when these traits present in a new person, the organizational culture usually tries to squash them and, instead, encourage conformity by talking about “fit”.
There are some other qualities that are signs of an interesting, authentic, and unique person but that – strangely – are frequently overlooked as valuable by most colleagues and organizations. Though not all of them – these are some of my favorites that I look for when inviting people into an organization.
14 Traits Of Great Talent
They Are A Person Of Their Word: While being a person others can count on should be a great thing, the masses are intimidated and turned-off by the idea that you do what you said you’d do. This frequently makes others look bad because let’s face it, more often than not, people manage their commitments poorly or capriciously.
They Solve Problems: Most people love to sit around and be a victim of circumstance. They also love to tell you what they CAN’T do and why. When someone comes along who is driven and ambitious they don’t allow obstacles to slow them down nor do they find themselves getting “stuck”. People who enjoy being sedentary and lack the mental elasticity to create solutions are left behind by people who solve problems and deliver results.
They Are Candid: Average people don’t like people who are candid or call them on their poorly managed performance. They love to be treated with kid-gloves and exceptions to be made for them. Those who say what they mean and mean what they say means there is no way to misinterpret the dialog or communication. Everyone knows where they stand and how they effect the culture and team dynamic.
They Abhor Complainers: People who sit around and complain about their lives, instead of getting up and living the life they want, aren’t worth your time. Fabulous people know that it is important to walk away from people who have nothing better to do than kvetch about life. People who possess enthusiasm, vision, and drive are intimidating and confusing to the uninspired masses and people typically fear what they don’t understand.
They’ve Done Their Homework: People who are confident and courageous know when to speak up and know when they don’t have enough information to contribute. Strong and resourceful people can walk into a room and evaluate it and can see how they fit into the dialog [or not]. The average person speaks with little understanding, often regurgitating someone else’s position and words on the topic at hand – simply just to be heard.
They Are Strong-Willed: People with conviction and courage will often stand their ground on issues they are knowledgeable and confident about. Most people are easily influenced and weak-willed and just seek to blend in with the majority. One of the reasons these people are such good problem solvers is that they don’t take “no” for an answer, and if you believe there is an answer to be found or way to perform the task better, they will find it, no matter what.
They Keep An Open-Mind: Most people live in blissful ignorance to the world around them and don’t care to learn more. The best people maintain an open mind and are happy to entertain dialogs and learning opportunities presenting various perspectives on a topic. They seek to develop and grow and would never be so obstinate as to not to learn from others.
They Loathe Ignorance: Above all else people who possess the unique trait of ambition and personal drive find it incredibly difficult to tolerate people who are ignorant or who embrace intransigence. Deliberate and willful ignorance is the WORST. Someone who should know better but chooses to believe the worst thing(s) they hear without questioning it for themselves just solidifies their own stupidity and toxicity.
Small Talk Is A Bore: Most people who are ambitious and driven want to exchange more than shallow platitudes. They want to know more and when they ask how you are they truly want to know. Their time is important and they want to learn and evolve based on meaningful dialogs. They usually have an ambitious agenda for the day to accomplish as much as they possibly can. The go-getters attitude is guided by their desire to achieve objectives and exceed their goals. This is a foreign concept to the average person who just seeks to ride the line and doesn’t mind wasting time with nonsense.
They’re Optimistic: That is because they control their own destiny, their own happiness, their own results. They maintain a positive attitude because they set out each day to be the best version of themselves and that means trying to find the best in others and the circumstances around them. Let the masses play the victim. Truly unique people don’t allow challenges to define them, they are motivated and propelled by them.
They Don’t Gossip: We work with people every day who are compelled to gossip and spread rumors as if it’s built into their DNA. The best people firmly state their position – that they’re only interested in conversations with substance. They quickly identify these yentas and freeze them out. This leaves time for meaningful and important work and conversation with others that will support advancement.
They Don’t Seek Superficial Attention: Leave that to the politicking mediocrity. The truly unique seek recognition that is tied to real and true accomplishment. They speak when they have something important, and of value, to share. They leave the icky management speak to those who lack intelligence and substance. Superficial attention is fleeting and – frankly – meaningless outside of the moment it is given. Unique people seek to be recognized for their complexity, depth, action, and results.
They Are Kind & Human: They treat everyone and speak with everyone they interact with as an important business partner and human being. Decency and kindness is a common practice and requires no thought – it is ingrained into that person’s character, naturally and without exception to those that show they are deserving of respect.
They Believe In The Power Of Proximity: Much like the greatest predictor of cultural fit is the alignment between a person’s and the organization’s values – truly fabulous people know that they must align themselves with other’s who share their convictions and principles in order to be the best version of themselves each day. They know they want to support other’s who are positive and motivated and they don’t waste their time with the weak, anonymous, zero-charisma, and simple herd.
As companies work to evolve their talent selection processes I would encourage them to identify, discover, and find value in the skills, traits, and competencies that make people uncommon and even though their professional pedigree may be different from the “typical” hire, they have the courage to take a chance on someone who has the ability to make the organization better, stronger, innovative, and legitimately diverse and inclusive. With the added benefit of being more interesting and exciting as a brand who values high-potential and high-productivity individuals over the mediocrity of the “safe” hire