When discussing a new opening with a hiring manager, recruiters usually zero in on personality traits a potential hire must demonstrate. Many tend to be fairly cliché – autonomous, cooperative, pleasant, friendly, and so on. I like asking something different: “What makes it difficult for you to manage someone? What makes an employee average?” I have heard very different answers throughout the years, all depending on the personality of each particular hiring manager. Yet, three commonalities have emerged.
1. Lack of passion (aka enthusiasm). Think back to your last meeting and analyze what you must have looked like to others. Extraverts and introverts tend to emote and express themselves differently, but did you find a way to express your engagement regardless of your personality type? What was your body language like? If you feel that you went generally unnoticed, here is the bad news – your manager did notice you but not in a positive light.
2. Inability to take criticism. Unless you work for a self-saboteur, in which case you should stop reading this post and start looking for a new job, your manager wants to see you succeed. In order for you to learn and grow, you are bound to make mistakes as you learn. It is your manager’s job to tell you when something in your work needs to change and to coach you accordingly. The worst thing you can do is take the situation personally and dwell on it. The best thing? Listen, discuss (disagree if need be) but then … move on! Constructive criticism is not meant to negate all of the great work you do and is not a personal attack, so take it in stride and don’t let it be a stumbling block.
3. Lack of self-motivation. A great many books and articles have been written on managing employees. Companies are realizing the importance of employee experience and are implementing creative programs to enhance it. Yet, as adults we hold the responsibility of finding our own ways to stay motivated and engaged. Yes, Millennials, this advice applies to you too! When you require constant appreciation, encouragement and a celebration of each minor accomplishment, you inevitably drain more than you contribute.
If you find it difficult to stay motivated in your job and feel constantly on the defensive, there are two ways to look at your situation. The first obvious conclusion is that it might be time to look for another company and perhaps a completely different set of tasks. But before you do that, dig deep – is this feeling a trend in a few jobs you have had? Is it possible that it is time for some self-awareness before you jump into another job where yet again you will fail to feel fulfilled? Certainly, it takes a lot more to be considered a top performer than being energetic, motivated and open to feedback. However, the three traits outlined above are sure to negate any amazing work you might be doing.