A Trait As Valuable As High Intelligence in Propelling and Predicting Workplace Success

Man in business suit adjusting his collar.

If your goal is maintaining and advancing in your career, it would be wise to identify predictors of workplace success. I’m thankful for bright and motivated individuals who study and research this very topic. I’ll present their findings to you.

Before I share the research, what would you hypothesize as the most significant traits contributing to career excellence?

I assumed workplace success is contingent on high intelligence, general likability, and keen self-awareness. None of which is wrong, but my hypothesis overlooks a recently identified and researched trait.

By now the suspense is torture, so without further ado: Dr. Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania researched predictors of success in the workplace and across a variety of settings. She found “grit” to be the number one predictor of excellence in the workplace, on sports teams, and in competitions. She describes grit as “the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals.”

Duckworth explains that natural talent and high intelligence are not the end-all-be-all shoe-ins for career success. They are important, as are keen self-awareness, a general likability, and high emotional intelligence. However, without grit, or continued perseverance, one will quit his job to pursue a more exciting career; show up to work with decreased energy and effort; fail to pursue up-to-date research and skills in his field; or neglect to consider new job accommodations that would increase his efficiency and accuracy.

When you cultivate grit, you become a person who sticks with her goals, who increases her job performance over time and continued effort, and you become a person who achieves long-term success in areas of natural talent and intelligence.

To my readers who are blind or visually impaired and who want to demonstrate grit: instead of throwing in the towel and losing motivation in the workplace, read and utilize the information in the blogposts: Career Advancement Tips and The Basics Behind Maintaining Employment.

As Dr. Duckworth describes, you’re running a career marathon, not a short sprint. Don’t give up.