How Would You Like to Be Described? A Brief List of Character Traits

Posted by Bridget Beirne
August 20, 2014

by Bridget Beirne

bridget-beirne-1How would you like your co-workers, superiors or subordinates describe you?

Part of increasing your emotional intelligence skills is discovering how those around you feel about interacting with you. When we think of a strong leader, someone one that we admire, respect, and enjoy working with, a list of common character traits comes to mind. We might describe these people as patient, supportive, empowering, credible, or fearless — admirable character traits shared by many a strong leader.

Now, ask yourself — how would you like to be seen by those around you? Here are some actionable tips to help you embody this (brief!) list of character traits exhibited by people with high EI:

If you'd like to be described as Patient: Improve your active listening skills, and work on any interruptive tendencies. Patient people listen closely to the people who are speaking with them and avoid jumping in and interrupting. The two obviously go hand-in-hand; when you are truly listening to another person, you are more in tuned to the flow of their speech. Let them know with a head nod or small, uninterruptive vocals ("Yes" "Right") that you are giving them the floor.

If you'd like to be described as Supportive: Don't be afraid to do a temperature check with those around you. Simply asking how they are doing on a certain project or if you can assist in any way is not only important for the overall success of your office, but shows the person that you are interested in their needs, as well. Our own Dawn Stanyon likes to ask us this simple question: "How can I help?"

If you'd like to be described as Empowering: Try this mantra before you speak to your team or colleagues: list-of-character-traits"I want to empower everyone to..." and then complete the sentence. In all communication, knowing how you want your audience to feel about your message informs your delivery physically, vocally, and visually. And an empowering leader actively knows he wants to bring her/his audience along to bigger and better things.

If you'd like to be described as Credible: Remember that much of your credibility comes from how you present yourself. Credibility, consistency and confidence go hand in hand. (Incidentally, they are also the tenants of personal brand...) Poor eye contact and jittery physicality will undermine your best efforts and make you look untrustworthy or unsure. Work on both to up your credibility with your colleagues

If you'd like to be described as Fearless: Fearless leaders are boldly, uniquely themselves; they aren't afraid to take a risk or put themselves out there. Ask yourself these questions: Am I authentically myself in the workplace? Do I over-think or over-analyze? Am I afraid to try new things? If so, challenge yourself! Remember, fearless behavior isn't necessarily risky behavior. You can embody fearlessness by boldly making good choices.


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