1. Character - A man's character is what he is inwardly, for character is the combination of qualities, traits and virtues that distinguishes the individual. It has been said that every man is three different individuals--the man he thinks he is, what others think he is, and what he really is. In the words of Hames: "A good character is, in all cases, the fruit of personal exertion. It is not inherited from parents, it is not created by external advantages, it is not necessary appendage of birth, wealth, talents or station; but it is the result of one's own endeavors." Each individual has his own distinctive qualities, and these qualities are what help to develop his reputation for honesty, integrity and fair dealing. Just as George Washington once said: "I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an 'honest man.'"
2. Enthusiasm - What is enthusiasm? The word is used so often that it has almost become interchangeable with excitement. And yet it also includes emotion, ardor, sincerity, eagerness, fervency, and intensity. "Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm," said Bulwer Lytton; "it moves stones, it charms brutes. Enthusiasm is the genius of sincerity, and truth accomplishes no victories without it." And to quote Bishop Doame: "Enthusiasm is the element of success in everything. It is the light that leads and the strength that lifts men on and up in the great struggles of scientific pursuits and of professional labor. It robs endurance of difficulty, and makes a pleasure of duty."
Let us beware of losing our enthusiasms, for a man who is full of enthusiasm about his work and his company can overcome a multitude of sins of omission and commission. A spirit of sincere enthusiasm will help a man over many a rough spot, and will carry on from one job to another. A man who is known for his enthusiastic personality is always in demand.
3. Grooming - Good grooming is a distinct promoter of a winning personality. A man's appearance is extremely important in this modern world, because people generally judge more from appearances than from reality. Everyone regardless of his station, affects a particular look and exterior, for a while all men have eyes, very few have the gift of penetration. There are so many details involved in good grooming that it is both unnecessary and embarrassing to mention them. Johann Kaspar Lavater said, "Dress is an index of your contents." To this we must add that famous line from Shakespeare's Hamlet: "Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy. But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy; For the apparel oft proclaims the man." Those who think that in order to dress well it is necessary to dress extravagantly or grandly make a great mistake. Naturally, in contacting both your company associates and outsiders a good first impression is most important - you don't always get a second chance to correct a bad first impression.
4. Personal Habits - Nothing contributes more definitely to an individual's winning personality than his good personal habits. While each human being has his own peculiarities, mannerisms, or idiosyncrasies, they should not be permitted to become glaring bad habits. It does not suffice to say to one-self "Oh that's just a little habit of mine; if they don't like it, it's just too bad." The usual result is that it becomes "too bad" for you! One need never be satisfied to let well enough alone when, with merely a little conscious attention, one can easily correct many deficiencies. One never knows when the smallest detail is observed, such as pulling your ear, twitching your lip, winking an eye, fingering a nostril, pulling your chain, or nervously drumming your fingers on a table, etc. Habits become stronger than nature when we allow them to persist, and sometimes a single habit will mar an otherwise faultless character. As Richard Whately wrote: "Habits are formed, not at one stroke, but gradually and insensibly; so that, unless wigilant care be employed a great change may come over the character without our being conscious of any."
5. Attitude - A man's attitude toward life is sweet or sour, positive or negative; and it is so noticeable in his dealings with people that it gives him a distinctive personality. It affects his reputation for better or worse. Some people call it temperament, although much of it is really temper. One of the truest lines ever written, by Balzac, says, "Temperament is the thermometer of character." La Rochefoucauld warned us, "The happiness and misery of men depend no less on temper than on fortune." After all, attitude is largely a state of mind; and if your mind is taken up with pleasant, creative, constructive ideas, your personality will reflect a like attitude. Such qualities as poise, balance equanimity, and dignity have decidedly favorable effect on your attitude; while such opposite traits as impulsiveness, militant aggressiveness, advanced assertiveness, impetousity and thoughtlessness can have a decidedly unfortunate effect. One of the most important of all attitudes in business is a positive outlook. No one likes a crepe hanger or calamity howler or a confirmed pessimist. Isaac Barrow once wrote, "If we desire to live securely, comfortably and quietly, then by all honest means we should endeavor to purchase the good will of all men, and provoke no man's enmity needlessly; since any man's love may be useful and every man's hatred is dangerous." In this modern word, a constructive, positive, businesslike attitude is a major necessity to a creative executive or a good employee. In the final analysis, busy executives cannot afford to waste valuable time or take too many chances with careless, negative, or indifferent employees.
6. Friendliness - In all our contacts with men and women everywhere, regardless of position in life, friendliness still pays the world's biggest dividends! Friendliness is the quality of sympathetic human relations that develops good will and builds firm friendships. However, friendliness must not be confused with the familiarity that breeds contempt. Friendliness leads to respect and loyalty, and eventually is transformed into affection. It is the outward evidence of a cheerful willingness that begets a similar friendliness on the part of your fellow worker or associate. As Samuel Johnson said: "If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair."
If you can walk hand in hand with others, meet them halfway, and constantly extend the right hand of fellowship, you will gain a reputation as a friendly person.
7. Intelligence - It goes almost without saying that your inherent intelligence must be expanded to the fullest degree in order to gain and hold the respect and admiration of your associates. One must avoid evidences of carelessness and superficial thinking, and repace them with sincerity and confident knowledge. You must not only have a thorough knowledge of your product and service, but a complete understanding of your business and its many ramifications. As Lowell wrote: "In the scale of the destinies, brawn will never weight so much as brain".
Intelligence is built brick by brick on the facade of the human mind, and it expands in proportion to its building. In the word of Longfellow: "The intellect of man sits enthroned visibly upon his forehead and in his eye, and the heart of man is written on his countenance, but the soul reveals itself in the voice only." In other words, keep a good head on your shoulders and it will show in your personality!
8. Aggressiveness - By an aggressive man, I don't mean one who is always inclined to aggressive argument, who is disputatious and constantly claiming his rights or who is ever ready to take the bull by the horns. An aggressive personality is an excellent asset in business, so as long as you can keep it on a leash. But aggressiveness is not always an inherent part of an individual's personality, any more than a good personality is always "born" in one. Strive for diplomatic, tactful, constructive aggressiveness - the kind that keeps a man's eyes open and alert and continually looking for an opportunity to make the breaks himself. To be acceptable, aggressiveness must be pleasant rather than argumentative, constructive rather than militant. How often, unfortunately, you meet people who are so aggressive that they are ready to fight at the drop of a hat! They keep you continually disturbed and unhappy, and as a result you are always trying to keep clear of them. There is an agreeable aggressiveness that injects a spark of magnetic force into a man's activities. Aggressiveness of this character is welcomed by executives and associates.
9. Imagination - An individual must have creative imagination to become successful in any endeavor. As Henry Ward Beecher said: The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope. The world of reality has its limits, but the world of imagination is boundless and continuous. So why not encourage our imagination to soar to distant horizons, and then bring what we can down to earth and make the most of it?
10. Initiative - Initiative is the ability to develop original conception and independent action. It is one of the most dynamic words in the English language. The man with plenty of initiative becomes known as a self-starter. His entire personality becomes permeated with the ability to do things under his own steam, rather than wait for someone else to tell him when, where, how and what to do. As a result such a man develops a spirit within him that can accomplish miracles, and he develops a reputation for being able to charge his own personal storage battery. Man of this caliber are always at a premium in the business world-we can never have too many of them. Try it out yourself. When you are faced with a problem to be solved, don’t ask anyone else how to go about it; face the issues out of your own head and develop your own methods and techniques. You’ll find that you will become respected and admired, and you will develop a reputation for being a man with an enterprising personality.
11. Thinking ability - Dare to think for yourself and you will become known as a constructive thinker. Think long enough constructively an you will advance to the status of creative thinker. The highest paid executives in business are the creative thinkers. Naturally, everyone thinks; but what he thinks, or how creatively and constructively he thinks, is something else again. The man with a thinking personality can digest a thought in his mind, running it round and round, until it turns mental some results and develops the ideas that lead to success. Learn to play a game with your thoughts; stretch your imaginations until your mind coild, and then you will take off in the direction you want to go.
12. Human relations - Human relations in business involves getting along with people. The good human relations practitioner is the man with a sociable personality; he is not only a real human being himself, but he realizes that the average man appreciates being treated like a human being rather than a number. Humanity is about the same the world over; it is the peculiar disposition of a great mind to practice the Golden Rule and to develop a warm, friendly personality that attracts and bring people around to your way of thinking. The man aspiring to leadership should keep in mind the seven basic needs of the people around him:
- Earning opportunities
- Opportunity to grow
- Income recognition
- Contribution to community service and the economy.
In the words of Maltbie Babcock: Spirituality is best manifested on the ground, not in the air. To have bread excite thankfulness and a drink of water send the heart of God is better than sighs for unattainable. To plow a straight furrow on Monday or dust a room well on Tuesday or kiss a bumped head on Wednesday, is worth more than most ecstatic thrill under sunday eloquence. Spirituality is seeing God in common things, and showing God in common tasks.”
14. Personal magnetism - Personal magnetism is a happy combination of personality traits and qualities that is well right irresistable. It is a quality of spirit that ties up all your good qualities with a dynamic current that sparks like electricity.