Professional achievement can be measured in two ways: the success that one finds in one’s career, as well as the growth that one brings to those around them. These two aspects are broad; here we discuss some of the traits and metrics that define a higher level professional, based on observations of he/she they acts and thinks not just as a member of an organization, but also as an individual.
While you, as a professional, may look up in your company’s hierarchical chain to identify those in levels higher than you, your experience is likely to have helped you realize that not everyone above you is someone you look up to. It is thus prudent practice to understand the qualities of a professional that attract reverence and even affection. If you find yourself naturally inclined to seek the guidance of someone above you, chances are good that they possess such qualities. On the flip side, if you observe such qualities in someone, it is generally a good idea to look to them for mentorship.
Only such professionals can truly be called higher level professionals. They embody a variety of characteristics that help one reach success, and modeling yourself after them could help you find similar success.
Interestingly, the characteristics that they possess are similar.
The most successful higher level professional exhibits exceptional emotional intelligence, communication, and stress management. Regardless of the industry, such soft skills are crucial to tie the organization together and solidify performance. However, it is also one area where the competency gap is most prevalent. Thus, those who have good soft skills tend to stand out and shine when the upper management searches for viable candidates to work by their side.
Developing your soft skills is imperative; you become an asset in both intra-organization as well as inter-organization communication if you possess them. Observe those in your organization and analyze their diplomacy, conflict-resolution, and problem-solving. In other words, watch and listen to them as they communicate with you and your colleagues. You might be surprised when you find trends in the way they manage their work relationships.
Strategy and tactics in the context of an organization can be different. According to experts, a higher level professional is strategic a thinker, while others are more tactical thinkers. A higher level professional is quick to look at the bigger picture; such a perspective of looking at things enables them to suggest and make decisions that can provide comprehensive solutions to the challenges that lay ahead.
Examples of such thinking include thinking about where the organization is headed with a change introduced, how an act of one employee can affect the business, and so on. To them, it is not about solving just one singular problem, because sometimes the interconnectedness of things is more important than the things themselves. They have the vision to differentiate day-to-day tasks and projects from the bigger goals of the organization.
Thinking in Terms of Business Impact
Strategic thinking also means that a higher level professional is re always thinking about their as well as others’ performance and results in terms of business impact. When they address a project and its completion, their focus isn’t simply restricted to just that – it is rather on the measurable effect that the project has had or will have on the organization.
A strong presence
It has also been observed that top professionals are confident and rarely crack under pressure. Their demeanour and attitude towards issues do not change even when they are under enormous stress – something that can lead to a sort of psychological unraveling at times – which results in calm and effective decisions.
Such professionals exude stability by simply being present – a concept also known as executive presence. When you display an executive presence with people working under you or even to the higher-ups, you will notice that it has remarkable effects on how they perceive you. You will become someone that people want to be near in unpredictable or difficult situations, believing that you are capable of making tough decisions when required. As the saying goes, “Tough times breed tough people.”
This is probably the one quality of a leader that keeps them in the minds and hearts of those around them for years even after the leader is no longer around. As you climb the proverbial career ladder, try to bring people along with you. Besides the obvious social good that you will be responsible for, you will also be able to inspire people. Inspiration, in turn, can tremendously impact the performance of those who follow you as their leader.
The greatest leaders in the business world have been figures that have impacted those around them to great things. Great people breed greatness. In fact, the importance of the influence that experienced professionals can have on upcoming professionals and aspirants is so high that an entire industry dedicated to career guidance exists, with new age startups like Expertrons bringing such experience in the form of AI videobots that can be accessed by the millions of professionals across the world for free.
Look out for these traits in those who work with you. On one hand, it can help you realize who matters for your growth as a potential mentor or just someone you can learn from. On the other, they are your teachers for leadership skills; mimicking them as you make these traits your own can be a truly rewarding experience.