by Dr. Airies Davis
Over 15 years of experience in diverse Human Resources disciplines coupled with family, school, and social environments have shaped and grounded my core character skills. I am often center stage for myriads of conversations on how best to identify key character or social skills for student and adult learners. Yet, organizations and schools tend to prioritize academic and professional competencies as the dominant requisites for impactful life and workplace success. Likewise, exhibitions of noble character skills directly correlate to workplace success.
Research suggests organizations want to recruit, hire, promote, and retain human capital talent with noble character skills. Ask yourself, are you of noble character? Most would emphatically respond YES! Now let us rephrase the question under the context of workplace success. Do you exhibit noble character skills in the workplace? The rephrased question may evoke a moment of pause, reflection and analytical ponder. While the affirmative answer may remain, the following prompt begs to question: What does it mean to be of noble character? Also, as it relates to being of noble character, what are top character skills for workplace success?
The theoretical description of a noble character arguable varies based on self-perceptions. In other words, one person’s interpretation of requisite skills to be of noble character can vary from another. Research suggests character skills are often predictors of workplace success and behaviors. Meaningful attributes of noble character skills are critical for organizational selection and promotion decisions. Equally, those seeking career advancements could especially benefit from exhibiting noble character skills for heightened performance and professional development. For the purposes of this discussion, being of noble character is illustrated as taxonomy of three character skills: emotional intelligence (EI), civility and integrity.
Emotional Intelligence (EI)
Everyone is talking about EI, what is EI and what does it have to do with my character? Gone are the days of academics and performance based assessments as the only predictors of workplace success. The workplace seeks to hire well-rounded noble professionals not only with social and intellectual competencies but emotional cognition. Emotional Intelligence is a broadly defined and nationally recognized by notable scholar Daniel Goleman as the psychological integration of emotions with intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to cognitively recognize, evaluate, influence, and manage your own and the emotions of others. Emotional Intelligence is utilized to promote emotional connections with a direct correlation to employee and organizational performance, well-being, social functioning, and work life balance. Affectively, the ability to emotionally connect constructs a broad range of enhanced self-awareness and leadership competencies deemed valuable by many workplace environments.
One is as one does; acts of civility are a lost art form. Civility characteristics generally refer to interpersonal skills, values and behaviors of respect and good will. Civility is a fundamental segment of perceived organizational climates and outcomes. Furthermore, it is the ability to recognize differences and deal with them diplomatically. Alas, studies reveal workplace incivility as significantly problematic and costly to organizations. Evoking acute metacognition, utilizing assessments, tackling hidden biases, aligning performance management, adopting behavioral based interviewing techniques, and creating accountability cultures are strategic initiatives to promote civility awareness and character building. Adapt a mindset of constant formal (360 evaluations, etc.) and informal (one-one-one conversations, peer feedback, etc.) civility check-ins to reinforce workplace culture. Organizations questionable civility concerns cannot be static and ignored in the beginning of the year- January then expected to be addressed effectively at the end of the year-December. Thus, being of noble civic character is longstanding and enduring.
Adapt a zero tolerance policy to anyone in the workplace void of integrity. Integrity is synonymous with respect. Integrity builds trusted relationships and consensus. Being able to exercise full transparency fosters a sense of mutual respect. Individuals are more likely to optimally perform when they revere and respect their workplace team. Prevalently, organizations aspire to recruit, hire, promote, and retain individuals with integrity or honesty as an utmost character value. Conversely, individuals void of integrity including but not limited to dishonest, unethical and misleading practices often result in immediate termination. Exercising mindful practices of integrity demonstrate an advanced level of value and appreciation for ones moral compass. Indeed, the prevalence of workplace integrity practices are often embedded as a part of an organizations mission, vision, leadership philosophy, and/or value statements. A culture of integrity provides a long-term foundation for individual and organizational growth and performance.
Noble character skills in the workplace can be manifold. Findings suggest implications of not only owning but also frequently exercising noble character skills as vital to workplace success. Deployment of emotional intelligence, civility and integrity character skills at work can generate and lead to meaningful environments resulting in career satisfaction and increased performance. Thus take a moment to pull back the curtains to reveal and reflect on what noble character traits are important for your workplace success.