What are the qualities that make a powerful impression in the workplace? As businesswomen, we’re consistently looking to make that memorable impression – whether it’s on our managers, on our clients and partners, or on our colleagues. It can help us in receiving recognition, promotions and raises and overall succeeding in our careers.
In my experience, there have been eight critical qualities that make an impactful and powerful impression on the job. Read on to see what they are!
Quality #1 – Professional
Learning to be professional is usually picked up from our own observations and experiences. And through my observation and experience, being professional is about being respectful and paying attention to how you present yourself.
It’s about dressing to impress (especially when meeting with clients or those in leadership), being punctual when it comes to meetings and responding to emails, giving firm handshakes, holding direct eye contact, and passing out your business cards when appropriate. It’s about being polite and courteous to everyone you come in contact with, even those you don’t necessarily care for. It’s about being respectable in and outside of the office (aka avoiding things like drinking too much and swearing). And when it’s all said and done – all of this goes to show that you take your job and your work seriously.
Quality #2 – Organized
I’ve learned that being organized is a surefire way to impress. Being organized gives the impression that you are put together and can handle a number of different tasks at once. Here are a few ways to stay organized on the job:
- Organize your inbox – star the important emails, delete unnecessary ones and filter the rest into respective folders for easy finding later on (I personally organize mine by client and then by internal resources). This will ensure you stay on top of your communications and the bonus is you’ll likely feel less stressed too!
- Stay on top of your calendar – Assessing your calendar at the beginning of the week can help you get organized and set up your to-do list for the week ahead. Make sure you are adding to your calendar when meetings and priorities come up and pay attention to it on a daily basis. Block time off on your calendar to get the tasks you need done. Something that’s worked great for me is combining my work and personal calendars so I have all my meetings, work tasks, and social events all in one place, which keeps me organized. Highly recommend!
- Have a to-do list – I like to have an ongoing to-do list, broken down by each of my clients (because I typically am working with 8-10 clients at a time). This helps me keep tasks and priorities in check. I like to update this in real-time in a document and then write out my day-of to-do’s on paper.
- Create an ongoing document of things to remember – On the job, it can be difficult to keep track of all the things you need to remember. Especially for me working in tech, I’m learning something new almost daily. What’s helped me is organizing all the information I learn or come across into one central document that I update in real-time. It’s come in handy especially when there’s been a question that pops up and I’m able to hop into my document and find the answer a lot more easily because I know exactly where to find it.
Quality #3 – Efficient
In being organized, I have found I’m much more efficient with my time. I remember the days early on in my career where working long hours was applauded. Nowadays, it seems like everyone wants us to work smarter, not harder. Being efficient on the job means limiting distractions, keeping track of the time and how long it takes you to complete tasks, completing one task at a time vs. multitasking, all while hitting deadlines. By striving for efficiency, you’re able to complete things in a much quicker fashion, which leads to additional responsibilities and opportunities like leadership positions and promotions.
Quality #4 – Flexible
Do your best to leave your stubbornness at the door when you enter the workplace. Managers especially want someone on their team who is going to be flexible and is easy to work with. That means being a team player and getting along with your colleagues and your clients. Be open to changes and doing things out of your job description because it’s bound to impress someone and you never know what that can do for your career.
Quality #5 – Proactive
Being proactive is one of the most important qualities to have when wanting to make a powerful impression. No one likes telling and reminding someone of what to do. Managers and clients alike appreciate a professional who is constantly coming to the table with ideas and solutions or raising their hand for more responsibility. Make sure you’re not just waiting for others to bring tasks to you. If your workload is light, ask what you can help with. This not only shows that you care and are a teamplayer, but it’s also an opportunity to gain additional skills. Also, if you come across a question you don’t know the answer to, don’t just sit back and wait to ask or until someone else does. Be proactive, raise your hand and ask the question!
Quality #6 – Honest
Honesty is key in the workplace. While it can feel awkward sometimes to tell it straight, I’ve found others respect me more when I am honest. For example, if a client asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to – tell them that! It’s better to be honest and tell them you don’t know and that you will get back to them with the correct answer. You’re not expected to know everything (especially if you’re new to the role/company) and they will understand that.
I think it’s also important to be honest with your manager on how you’re feeling on the job. For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and your bandwidth has been stretched too thin – say so! If you’re unhappy with something and would like to see changes implemented, definitely make sure you are speaking up and voicing that. You will undoubtedly make a more powerful impression by doing so.
Quality #7 – Direct
Being direct goes hand in hand with being honest. Don’t be afraid to speak up on the job. Ask for what you want – this your career after all! Just recently, I was both honest and direct with my manager and let him know I wanted to take advantage of what I’ve learned over the last few years at my company to see how I could help my team in a bigger capacity. I was honest in that I wasn’t sure what that would 100% look like, but I was also direct in that I wanted to talk further about it. What that led to was a nomination for a leadership program at my company to potentially become a manager in the next year or so. If I hadn’t been direct and asked for what I wanted, I don’t know if that nomination would have actually happened.
Being direct can also mean asking for feedback – both positive and constructive. This will ultimately help you understand where you excel and where you need to improve. It will give a powerful impression that you care about your job and your career path.
Quality #8 – Dependable
Being dependable means you’re already on your way or have made that powerful impression to your manager, clients, and colleagues. It means these people respect you and trust you to get the job done. They don’t have to constantly be checking in with you to ensure you’re getting your work complete. It speaks volumes when someone tells you that you are dependable. Because once you’ve earned that trust and people know they can count on you, you’re more likely to be considered for leadership opportunities and promotions to continue growing in your career!
Kelly Nash is a Chicago-based writer, events host, speaker, and founder of Lipstick & Ink®, a career and wellness organization aimed to motivate female 9-5ers and side hustlers to own their power and make their mark. In addition to her writing and career consulting experience with L&I®, Kelly works full-time in technology as a Success Manager at Salesforce. She is also in the process of writing her first book.
Kelly has landed coverage in print and broadcast outlets including Thrive Global, International Association of Women, General Assembly, TheGlu, SheFactor, EvolveHer, Cliquish, and Six Degrees Society.