Talent & Tech Asia Summit 2024
3 qualities every talent should have in & out of the workplace

3 qualities every talent should have in & out of the workplace

Respect, empathy, and openness to communication — while not often acknowledged, there's so much these values do in setting an exceptional employee apart from the rest, Priya Sunil points out.

I was recently asked, during a dinner conversation with my team: "What are three qualities that stand out to you in any person?"

My response, something that I've truly believed for a long time, was — empathy, ability to have a conversation with someone (or an openness to communication), and respect. 

These qualities have become even more important and valuable to me as I've grown and experienced what life has given me — the good, the bad, the in-betweens. And when it comes to my role at work, I've definitely seen how much these values have impacted my day-to-day interactions with my team. Not just as a colleague, but as a manager as well.

Reflecting on my experience with these values, here's why I believe respect, empathy, and openness to communication are three key values every employee, every talent in the organisation should have — not just while at work, but also in their personal lives.

#1 Respect

It really makes a difference when an employee makes it a point to be respectful to every single person in the office — not just their seniors and leadership, but also their peers on the same level. Of course, it says a lot if they are respectful to every single individual (and even non-living thing) they come across outside of the workplace too. It reflects a person's character and gives a glimpse into the type of leader they may be in the future.

It may seem pretty predictable, but again, the role of respect in making or breaking an employee's influence on team camaraderie, and on whether anyone would want to interact with them, is not given enough credit.

Importantly, it also builds trust among peers and leaders, enhances communication, and helps tackle conflict better, among other impacts.

#2 Empathy

Leaders are often reminded to be empathetic towards their employees and their needs; it pays for employees to show the same level of empathy to their leaders too. Need to run through some deliverables with your manager but they are stuck in back-to-back meetings? Have a task pending their clearance but you see them stuck on their tight deadlines?

Instead of chasing them for their time when you know they barely have time to breathe, show some empathy and understanding — ask them for a few timeslots that may work for them to have your quick check-in, try to rearrange your task list in a way that you can still work on other tasks while waiting for their response, and if possible, see if there's any way you can offload a task from them too, if it'll free up their time better.

Additionally, showing empathy towards a co-worker, be it in understanding certain situations they are in, or towards their workloads, can help foster deeper trust mutually.

In short, an employee who showcases healthy levels of empathy towards their co-workers and leaders can make them better listeners, better at problem-solving, help them navigate conflict, and of course, make for stronger relationships with their co-workers and leaders.

#3 Openness to communication

Having respect and empathy can also make an employee more open to communication, because of the level of understanding they have developed which can thus make them more willing to navigate difficult times together. That aside, it also means you can count on them to voice out any concerns they may have towards something, any ideas or aspirations they may want to share with you, and even listen to your point of view with an open mind.

In my team, we always encourage one another to speak up and not be afraid to have a conversation — as long as you have a concern to voice, an idea to share, a suggestion to make, our ears are always open. And we stick by that. We believe learning goes both ways, and we are proud to be that team that knows how to maintain boundaries, while also knowing how to share openly. 

Don't get me wrong: I'm not citing myself or my team as the be-all-or-end-all examples, or saying we portray these qualities perfectly! We continue to learn and grow, I simply hope the experience can give you an idea on just how much of an impact such qualities can help in taking your employees to greater heights. 

All in all, while there are plenty more qualities to look out for and to cultivate in the workforce, starting off with respect, empathy, and openness to communication can set a solid foundation and open a path to more intricate qualities that create exceptional talent.

Got something to share? Write to us at priyas@humanresourcesonline.net— we'd love to hear your views!

Photo: 123RF

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