10 Traits of Successful Professionals in English

Nov 6, 2019 | 15 comments

Whether you’re preparing for a job interview in English or a performance evaluation, it’s essential to discuss traits for successful professionals — but what are the words native English speakers use? Which traits do they value?

To help in these stressful situations AND in celebration of Female Entrepreneur Day on November 19, here are 10 traits of successful professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners. 

Honestly — I believe these are traits of successful people, in general.

At the end, I share my absolute favorite expression to use when I talk about doing work I love so be sure to watch for that.

Plus I want to know which of these traits describes you best.

10 Traits of Successful Professionals.

Lesson by Annemarie

Top 10 Traits of Successful Professionals — Advanced English

Number 1: 

Driven = someone who is motivated by her work or thirst for success

Synonyms: determined, success-oriented, highly motivated; to have drive

Example: I’m a highly driven person who loves to succeed. When I have a goal or a responsibility, I do what is necessary to accomplish it, no matter how long it takes.

Number 2: 

Resilient = the have ability to recover or adjust to change/challenges

This is all about how you respond when something goes wrong. Do you panic and stop? Or do you calm yourself, focus, and find an alternative?

Synonyms: the ability to bounce back easily; adaptable, versatile

Example: My daughter isn’t afraid of risks and she doesn’t let challenges stop her. She’s rather resilient both in life and at work.

Number 3: 

Confident = to be self-assured and have self-reliance

Confidence is related to resilience. It isn’t easy for someone to be confident. Instead, this is something learned over time. If you’re confident, it doesn’t mean you don’t feel nervous sometimes BUT you believe you can figure it out and find a way forward. You trust your abilities.

Synonyms: self-assured

Example: When it comes to challenges at work or learning new skills, I have confidence in my professional abilities to find a solution and develop my skills.

Number 4: 

Decisive = able to make decisions; the capacity to assess situations or circumstances wisely and make a decision when necessary

Successful professionals, business owners and entrepreneurs need to have sound judgement and the ability to make decisions quickly. The opposite of this is someone who is indecisive.

Synonyms: determined; to have sound judgement

Example: As a team leader, it’s essential to be decisive so the team can continue making progress.

Number 5

Self Starter = someone who takes the initiative

In other words, you’re not waiting for someone else to do something. If something has to be done, you make it happen. 

Synonyms: a go-getter, ambitious, to have initiative

Example: She’s been successful because she’s such a self-starter. She isn’t afraid of working hard.

Ready for Trait Number 6? 

Risk-Takers = someone who is willing to do things that are risky or uncertain in order to reach a goal

Whether you’re starting your own business or managing a team, there are always uncertainties. Someone who is willing to take a risk and try something new is more likely to succeed.

This doesn’t mean you do things without research. It’s necessary to be thoughtful and weigh the consequences before making a decision to take a risk. And if you fail, hopefully you’re resilient and confident in your abilities to find a different way forward.

Synonym: risk tolerant

Example: Most successful entrepreneurs and business owners would describe themselves as risk-takers.

Number 7: 

Strong work ethic = someone who believes in or values the importance of work and is determined to work hard

This is quite similar to being a self-starter. You’re not afraid of challenges or hard work. 

Synonyms: hard working; disciplined 

Example: I’ve always had a strong work ethic and I do what’s necessary to accomplish my goals.

Number 8: 

Open-minded = someone who considers different perspectives, ideas, options. 

Success often comes from trying something new. Someone who is open-minded is also values the ideas of others.

Synonyms: receptive

Example: I appreciate that my boss is open-minded and always willing to listen to our ideas.

Number 9: 

Visionary = someone who sees the big picture and can plan strategically for the future

Can you identify the future challenges for your company? Can you deal your day-to-day job responsibilities, while staying focused on long-term goals and initiatives, the long-term vision?

Synonym: ambitious

Example: A good leader should be a visionary and have a clear picture of where the company/team is going.

Number 10:

Passionate = to have intense feelings (in this case positive) about what you do; to love your work

Successful professionals and business owners MUST be passionate about their work because success will require hard work and long hours, sometimes with little reward.

Synonym: high-powered

❤️❤️❤️Favorite expression: to be in flow; to be in a flow state = to do an activity fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity; you don’t notice the time.

Some people also say, “to be in the zone”

Example: I’m definitely in flow when I’m in the classroom with my students. I never notice the time and I feel 100% energized.

Love this lesson? 🥰

Check out 10 Smart Words to Use at Work in English.

I want to know which trait describes you best!

Now it’s time for you to put this new vocabulary on traits of successful professionals to practice! I’ve got 2 questions for you:

  1. Which trait describes you best? Share it with me in an example sentence.
  2. When do you feel ‘in flow?’ And if you don’t feel in flow now at your work, what are you most passionate about?

Share your answers below.

Have a fantastic Confident English Wednesday!

~ Annemarie

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