4 characteristics of excellent professionals

Good leaders combine knowledge, competencies, values and purpose.

By David Reyero

A few years ago a good professional was valued mainly for her extensive experience and excellent technical knowhow.

It was a non-globalised market of products and services and a more predictable work environment. In that context, which today seems in the distant past, expertise was cultivated unhurriedly and provided long-term value.

Nowadays this is still important and a good foundation for employability, but it is clearly insufficient.

The most valuable professionals combine technical knowledge with emotional and social competencies

The most valuable talent, the professionals who contribute most and are in most demand, combine a good grounding of technical knowledge with a good level of emotional and social competencies and solid ethical values.

They are also moved by a well-meditated individual and collective professional purpose that goes beyond working from day to day with commitment and passion.

Soft skills multiply the impact of the technical trade: teamwork, a performance-oriented approach, effective communication, customer orientation, curiosity and learning agility.

These are just some examples to illustrate the importance of competencies. Today they are merely a starting point from which to compete, for the organisational cultures of organisations and for professionals on an individual level.

Companies that are known for being good corporate citizens get a recognition bonus from the market

Ethics is about transparency, honesty, playing by the rules and avoiding the temptation to take shortcuts. It is crucial for trust, that valuable good that is so tricky to cultivate and is lost with such fragility. It also keeps us away from corruption, that evil that destroys good track records through greed, arrogance or bad faith.

Companies that are known for being good corporate citizens and employees with a good reputation (regardless of their position) get a recognition bonus from the market. And this is basic, especially because corporate and professional lives are usually long-distance races.

Purpose is the icing on the cake, the element that is often differential – an added bonus of attitude and courage, very important in the good times but necessary above all to face the crises that occur periodically.

Ethics is about transparency, honesty, playing by the rules and avoiding the temptation to take shortcuts

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’. Only when we feel free and sure about the goal that motivates us will we be capable of bringing about changes to create a far nobler reality,” as Viktor Frankl wrote in his inspiring book Man’s search for meaning.

Combining technical knowhow, competencies, values and life purpose becomes a virtuous cocktail that multiplies our professional employability and possibilities of success in the business world.

This is something that is not reserved for great leaders or people with high potential, great capabilities or strong ambition.

It is a combination that is within reach of anyone who wants to leave a positive legacy to society. An approach that strives to provide value through good universal values and the search for excellence by means of healthy day-to-day dissatisfaction and continuous improvement.

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