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Original post from Mental Toughness Partners


In my role coaching CEO’s and business owners on improving their mindset, we invariably also discuss the mental attributes they seek in their new hires.  In conducting a straw poll, the following were the composite top five in order, excluding the desire for relevant sector or functional experience.  At the top of the list is “a positive attitude” and interestingly all five attributes or soft skills are elements, in some way, of the MTQ48 4C’s mental toughness and framework, whilst none of them are related to talent or intelligence.

1.  A positive attitude

I agree with this choice as number one because a person who is passionate and energetic brings immense value to the culture.  Their positivity and confidence is contagious and uplifting to the people around them and invariably drives them to be industrious and productive too.

2.  Reliable and trustworthy

In an era where resources are short and margins of error are fine, reliability is treasured.  Being certain that someone will turn up on time, “come rain or shine” every meeting and every day and then do what they have promised to do is a priceless quality.  Alternatively, having to cope with the uncertainty of eleventh hour changes due to people who are unreliable is damaging to productivity and the culture. They become the weakest link. Just as important is trustworthy, doing the “right” thing by, and with, clients, candidates and colleagues. Taking short cuts and sharp cuts erodes trust and damages the brand and internal culture.

3.  Strong work ethic

All of my coaching clients are business owners or C–suite executives with a high work ethic and they value people in their team with a similar approach, ie people who are sufficiently driven and motivated to get the job done professionally, on time and with minimum fuss. These people take ownership and responsibility and they don’t have to be asked to come in early or stay late to complete an important task or responsibility – they just do it.  I know as a leader, I valued this trait and its important to recognise and reward this effort and not take it for granted.

4.  Resilience

There are so many pressures in business life these days at every level and people with the mental strength to cope are those most in demand.  I coach mental toughness, the ability to bounce back from setbacks and failures and to make things happen by spotting and seizing opportunities, so I know how important resilience is to a leader and the members of his or her team.  People who don’t need constant reassurance or rebuilding and who are relatively low maintenance most of the time are a huge asset. Of all the attributes and soft skills in demand I relate to this one most.

5.  Adaptable

With the only constant being change, leaders need to be adaptive, flexible and open to new ideas and ways of working. Having people in the team that are also adaptable and flexible and able to create, adapt and implement these ideas or situations are vital to the success of the business.  One related common observation to being adaptable is “coach-ability” and people’s willingness to learn. If you are an old dog that can’t learn new tricks and can’t change or adapt, sooner or later you become a roadblock to progress.