Businesspeople can come in all shapes and sizes, and with plenty of different characteristics. While there may be no perfect employee, colleague or client, there are characteristics that tend to make certain people better in professional or leadership roles. Being genuine is one such feature.
Want to work with more genuine businesspeople? Here are the traits you should look for.
1. They don’t always tell you what you want to hear.
A big part of being genuine is often practicing honesty. Genuine businesspeople will generally tell the truth, even if that means telling you something you don’t really want to hear. This can be very helpful when it comes to making difficult decisions.
2. They're comfortable with themselves.
Genuine businesspeople are often self-confident and comfortable in their own skin. They may be likely to trust their own instincts rather than relying on other people’s thoughts and opinions. In a business environment, this means they may be less likely to be easily influenced or manipulated. So they can often make good leaders or team members.
3. They're willing to listen.
Even though genuine businesspeople usually trust their own instincts, they’re often still willing to learn from others. No one knows everything, and genuine people are likely to understand that. They might ask questions of people and be open to at least hearing and considering other people’s opinions.
4. They’re open to criticism.
Genuine businesspeople typically understand that no one is perfect. So they know that constructive criticism can help to make them better. When you’re sharing guidance or opinions with a genuine colleague, they may be more likely to accept and examine it. They might ask you questions about what they can do to improve or even seek out some extra guidance.
5. They’re consistent.
People who aren't confident or genuine might go through different phases or act differently in certain environments. But genuine businesspeople will likely be more consistent. They won’t only put out their best work when the boss is around, or when they’re put on projects they enjoy. They typically try to put out their best work even when they’ve been assigned a task that they don’t enjoy or specialize in.
6. They don’t constantly seek approval.
Since genuine businesspeople are often confident on their own, they don’t need to constantly seek the approval of others. This means you probably won't have to constantly reassure a genuine businessperson you're working with. But if you do need them to change something or correct a mistake, you’ll need to communicate it with them clearly, because they likely won't go out of their way to seek your approval.
7. They don’t constantly seek attention.
Likewise, genuine businesspeople typically don’t try to call a lot of attention to themselves or their work. They're likely to just do their work, and do it well. They don’t need that attention or reassurance as an incentive to keep working.
8. They make the best of bad situations.
Issues arise all the time in business, whether you’re working alongside genuine businesspeople or not. But when those negative situations do arise, your genuine colleagues are more likely than others to try and make the best of them. Instead of overreacting or dwelling on the negative aspects, they usually try to take the lessons they’ve learned and apply them to future situations.
9. They follow through.
When genuine businesspeople say they’re going to do something, they tend to do it. They tend not to make promises they can’t keep or agree to do work that they aren’t able to complete or don’t have time for. So when you assign a specific task to one of your genuine colleagues and they accept it, you can be fairly confident it will actually get done.
10. They’re supportive.
When you’re working on your own projects, your genuine colleagues are likely to be first in line to support you. Since they’re self-confident, they don’t feel the need to compete with you. So if you have questions, need help or just need some extra encouragement, genuine people are most likely to be able to help you out.
11. They aren't overly judgmental.
Since genuine businesspeople tend to be confident and comfortable with themselves, they don’t usually dwell on what other people are doing. So they may be less likely to engage in a lot of office politics or judgmental behavior. If they do have an issue with a colleague or workplace incident, they may be more likely to bring it up with someone and be straightforward instead of dwelling on it for any length of time.
12. They encourage others to be genuine.
Authenticity loves company. Your business colleagues who exhibit the characteristics above are likely to encourage others to do so as well. They don’t have a lot of time or interest in dealing with people who are self-conscious, attention seeking or dishonest. So they’re likely to encourage their colleagues to be themselves and exhibit a lot of these same genuine traits.
Read more about leadership skills.
A version of this article was originally published on March 14, 2016.