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Workplace character traits often trump skills. A lack of character in the workplace has now caused some companies to “hire for character and train for skill.” It doesn’t mean skills and competence don’t matter. But, often skills can be taught and mastered on the job, while character flaws may not be redeemable.

We’ve all worked with smart, highly intelligent professionals. But, often these same individuals lack character. Their poor ethics and sometimes unscrupulous behavior can poison or even corrupt the culture of the organization.

Author, John Maxwell says, “Talent is a gift. Character is a choice.”

Here are five workplace character traits that are “choices you can make” for a more positive reputation.

  1. Give credit to others and show appreciation. For their ideas and their contributions to a team project. When you share the credit, it makes you look good and makes other feel appreciated for their part. What gets recognized gets repeated.
  2. Avoid gossip. Gossip hurts reputations, relationships and careers. Rather than being a busy body, be an effective body, one who let’s gossip go in one ear and out the other.
  3. Be truthful and trustworthy. If you made a mistake, own up to it. Apologize sincerely. Don’t pass the buck like a hot potato on someone else. If you have a 5 p.m. project deadline, getting it done by the deadline shows you are trustworthy. If you’re privileged to know confidential information, keep it that way to show you can be trusted. If you promised to return a call by the end of the day, do so.
  4. Be punctual for work and for meetings.  Arriving on time, or better yet a few minutes early, is part of your character and a simple way to show respect for others and their time.
  5. Convey kindness, empathy and forgiveness. Sure, people sometimes hurt our feelings, ruffle our feathers and unintentionally offend us. But, don’t go days trying to avoid the offender or sending a snarky email or holding back information they need. Sometimes we just have to “let it go.” Forgive simple offenses and move on. Maybe a person is going through a tough personal situation you know nothing about and is just having a rough day. Show empathy. Give him the benefit of the doubt.

Employees who bring great workplace character  traits to the job are more enjoyable to work with, gain a positive workplace reputation, enhance their career advancement and can have a ripple effect on the company’s culture.

What other character traits gain respect in the workplace? Share with me your comments and thoughts in the comments section below or via Twitter or LinkedIn.

You may also like to read: 6 Etiquette Mistakes That Even Smart Professionals Make

A licensed business etiquette consultant, trainer and speaker, Rachel Wagner helps organizations and individuals position themselves as savvy,  consummate professionals and professional organizations. She advises clients on business etiquette and business dining etiquette  to empower them to represent their company’s brand, reputation and image with excellence. She has worked  with public and private sector clients in a variety of industries.