Important Qualities for a Successful Businessperson

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc.
Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc.

This post was contributed by the Student Outreach Assistant, Jake Carlson, in the School of Business and Economics.

When it comes to deciding what to do with your life and making a career decision, it is important to do some self-evaluation to see where your heart leads you. It is not an easy task to assess the personality traits that make you, you. I struggled for a long time deciding what to do myself, and it took a while to figure out the direction that I am going in now. Thankfully, I have found something that makes me happy and takes all my likes and dislikes, wants and desires into consideration.

I went from thinking about medical school to orthodontics to mining engineering to electrical engineering. As I got older, I knew I didn’t want to work directly in the medical field, and didn’t want to be an engineer. I was drawn to business, specifically finance, almost as soon as I entered my first economics course in college.

What personality traits make a good businessperson? For such a diverse and flexible major, it’s a tough question to answer, but my personal traits make me feel like it is perfect for me:

  1. People Skills! First and foremost, you have to be able to communicate with those working around you. That’s where value is created by businesspeople; we serve as a means for the flow of information and the management of that information. We also have to be able to build valuable relationships… Networking, networking, networking!
  2. Leadership Skills. We have to be able to lead, even when not in a specific leadership role, to perform above and beyond what we would be able to do on our own. Leading by example and being able to inspire those you work with are necessary tools of a businessperson.
  3. Ambition. It takes a lot of ambition to be a successful businessperson, and personal drive is an important quality in a good leader. The determination it takes to want personal and professional betterment is a great trait for a prosperous businessperson.
  4. The Desire to Help People. Businesspeople have to understand that when those around them win, they have done their job correctly and they win as well. We can’t be selfish or greedy, or the system we are in charge of won’t work as it should.
  5. Problem-solving Skills. One of the most important skills to have as a businessperson is the ability to look at a problem, understand it, then solve it accordingly. Thinking on the fly and being able to create sustainable change are vital to success.
  6. Strong Mathematically. We live in a world where almost everything is quantified, and it is impossible to escape the sometimes daunting field of mathematics, but math skills are important. You don’t have to be Einstein, but it helps to know your way through basic mathematics.
  7. Confidence. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but we have to believe in ourselves while maintaining humility to be able to build great relationships.

Obviously, we all have something unique to offer, and the combination of our personal traits is what makes us right or not for a given job. If you see these qualities in yourself, then business is definitely right for you. Even if you don’t have all of them down yet, the desire to achieve them is a good sign you would make a good businessperson. Don’t worry… We’re here to help develop these traits in you!


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