With only a few traits left to discuss in our countdown of the top 10 traits of an indispensable employee, we want to remind our readers that the attributes we’ve been discussing in our last few issues are meant to benefit both job seekers and hiring managers. Job seekers will learn the traits they should highlight about themselves through the interview process, while Hiring Managers will learn about the specific traits to look for in candidates that will make them the most successful new employees. With traits #10 Loyalty, #9 Professionalism, #8 Ethics, #7 Team Player, #6 Adaptability, and #5 Communication behind us, we will explore traits #4 and #3 in this article, Expertise and Leadership. We hope this information is useful to our readers, and look forward to finishing our list with the #2 and #1 traits in the coming month.

3) Expertise

Expertise means expert skill or knowledge in a particular field. An expert is someone who has extensive experience and understanding of a particular subject. They are recognized as a reliable source of information. If you possess a specific skill, you can improve your value to your employer by maintaining and building on that strength. You can easily boost your value to your employer by making yourself available to others when your expertise is needed. When you establish yourself as a known expert you will become the go-to person within the organization. Many people seek advice from their peers with expertise and a proven track record of success within their specialty.

Your expertise is measured by the skills and knowledge you possess that are directly related to your chosen profession or field of work. To be considered an expert at something, you must have distinguishing traits that set you apart from others. For some given professions such as doctors, there are objective measures of performance that can distinguish experts from novices and can be easily accessed by the public. Other professions, however, can be more subjective with the measurements of expertise.

Regardless of your role, however, an expert keeps up with the latest research and techniques for their given specialty. Every time you learn something new, you increase your knowledge. The broader your range of knowledge, the more credible you are as an expert. The bottom line is that you must continuously strive to increase the depth of your knowledge throughout your career to maintain your reputation as an expert in your field.

4) Leadership

Becoming a leader takes a lot of effort, education and hard work. Good leaders are constantly working and studying to improve their leadership skills. This is one of those projects that is NEVER completed. A leader influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. To do this, a leader applies their attributes, such as beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge, and skills.

Even though many professionals hold a title containing the words ‘manager’ or ‘supervisor’ and hold the authority to accomplish certain tasks and objectives in the organization, this power does not always make them a leader, it simply makes them the boss. Leadership differs in that it makes the followers want to achieve high goals, rather than simply bossing people around.

What a leader is:

Visible: Visibility creates credibility, credibility creates trust, and to have trust you must visible. By circulating around the workplace, you will appear more approachable and available.

Consistent: Don’t be a tyrant one day and a pussycat the next. Flip-flopping between styles confuses employees. Stick with one style of leadership.

Positive: You set the tone for your environment. An optimistic attitude from a leader can carry over to others. Remember, employees mirror the tone that leaders set.

Fun: A successful leader has fun in the process. Lightness can complement the seriousness of the job.

Responsible: It is a leader’s responsibility to ensure that everyone shares in the team’s success. Employees will never respect a leader who deflects criticism toward the team. Successful leaders think of themselves as a “we” not “me”.

What a leader does:

Listen: The most important characteristic of a leader is being a good listener. Focus on the needs of your employees.

Recognize: Most people care more about recognition from peers and their bosses than about money. When an employee performs well, let him or her know.

Initiate: Don’t always dictate change. Initiate change by creating an atmosphere where creative ideas can flow freely. Encourage suggestions for improvement and reward good suggestions.

Communicate: Good leaders are good communicators. They clearly convey their message in a way that connects with the listener. Good leaders understand that you tailor your message to the needs of each worker.