Everyone has dreams of being a CEO, so what is the difference between a mid-level employee and a CEO? Chances are, it is the traits that they possess. Whether you believe leaders are born or leaders rise to the occasion, several vital attributes repeatedly enable employees to rise to the top.
Most people would like the number one trait to be experience and education because these two factors are within their control. It is satisfying to believe that if you work hard as much as necessary and continue to improve your skills, you will rise to the top — but that is not always how it works. Some of the most prominent tech CEOs of the 21st century are college dropouts, including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. This is not to say that education and experience are unimportant, but it demonstrates that while these tools can help you land a job, they do not necessarily help you conquer the tech world or get invites into boardrooms. The following are a few key employee traits that have been proven to help employees climb to the top of the corporate ladder. Work hard to develop these character traits in the workplace, and prepare to advance in your career:
1. They are passionate
The first trait on this list is passion, which is in short supply as we enter what The New York Times has coined “The Age of Anti-Ambition.” People either do not want to work anymore, or they do not want to put any extra work into their daily work.
This makes it easy to stand out if you are enthusiastic about your work. Employees who are enthusiastic and care about the work they do, as well as the company’s vision, will naturally be passionate about everything they do while at work. This passion has fueled some of the biggest tech companies and some of the most innovative discoveries of the last century.
Passion is also necessary because it is the number one difference between an employee who gives up when the task gets too hard and the employee who finds an innovative way to fix a problem. Employers notice those differences and encourage them to contribute more as they move up the chain.
2. They are eager
Everyone knows the job no one wants and the tasks people actively avoid by shifting their eyes or conveniently missing a critical meeting. However, your employer notices the employee who actively volunteers for that position. Therefore, instead of moving your gaze, it may be a good idea to jump in headfirst when a difficult or tedious task comes up in a meeting.
The person who volunteers for challenging assignments starts to build a reputation as a willing team member and someone willing to problem-solve. If you can solve a problem at the lower level, you can solve more significant problems down the road, which is precisely what the employer will start thinking. Therefore, always opt for the more challenging task if there is a choice between a simple and a hard one. That mentality and work ethic will not go unnoticed.
The bottom line is this: If you want to move up in your job, it is time to become the eager beaver at work. While you do not want to get taken advantage of, volunteering for assignments that allow you to grow is a wonderful way to get noticed.
3. They don’t find problems, they solve problems
The number one thing CEOs do not like? Problems. Second, they do not want employees who bring them issues without making any effort to solve them.
Granted, a low-ranking employee cannot solve every problem. Still, in some cases, innovative thinking and being proactive can help to reduce the issues associated with a problem. “Leaders value solutions.” Therefore, do not just bring a problem to your boss; take the time to sit back and think about how you can solve it.
CEOs love solutions, especially when they are packaged and ready to go. Therefore, before presenting, stop to think about the problem you have and how the company can potentially fix it. This allows you to go straight to the CEO and say, “Look, we have a problem, but I know exactly how we can fix it, so let’s talk about the game plan.” This straightforward approach to problem-solving is how you can be perceived as a transformative employee overnight.
Are you ready to step out behind the desk and into the boardroom? Your attitude has more to do with the transition than anything else, judging by this list. While experience and education can help your problem-solving skills and impress your bosses, what will truly impress them is a solid work ethic, passion and the ability to find solutions when an issue comes your way. It turns out your character is an essential factor that will contribute to your career growth. Work on building a solid surface, and you will be unstoppable.