Guest Post by Andrew Brushfield

Education, training, experience and continually updating your skills are all vital to success in the workplace and to your future employment trajectory. However, there are many less readily definable factors that influence success in the workplace.

If you observe successful people in your own profession closely, you will notice they have many characteristics in common that make them stand out from the crowd, accomplish great things and solve problems efficiently and effectively.

Here are the top five characteristics that have been identified as the key qualities needed for success:


Successful people communicate clearly and concisely. They are persuasive and confident in all their personal dealings and efficiently manage all daily communication channels including email and social networking. If they have a problem that needs solving, they tap into their networks and contact the best person to answer their questions. They are always open to helping out in return.

Successful PeopleIn addition, successful people know how to communicate a message and to get their point across. For example, Microsoft Founder and one of the wealthiest men in the world, Bill Gates, once let loose a jar full of mosquitoes in an auditorium where he was a keynote speaker on the dangers of malaria. The mosquitoes did not have the disease, but the stunt grabbed the attention of the whole room.


Richard Branson once said, “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” Indeed, an essential key to success is the willingness to act, to take initiative and put an idea in motion.

Successful people are willing to take risks and learn from their failures, they make changes instead of being affected by it and constantly adjust to changes in the marketplace by coming up with new ideas and gaining new skills. Having the drive to make things happen exudes leadership and can often inspire those around them.

Problem-solving ability

Successful people do not see problems, they see opportunities. They arrive at new solutions by looking beyond the obvious and seeking alternatives to traditional solutions. To quote the insightful words of Albert Einstein, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” It is those who think outside the box who are best equipped to solve problems.


Billionaire and stock market guru, Warren Buffet, has been quoted as saying, “I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.” For successful people, self-belief is a core part of their winning strategy. They don’t need to be motivated to be efficient and productive. They plan their day, set real goals they can accomplish, stay highly focussed, don’t rely on others to get the job done and take accountability for themselves and their actions.


Creator of the world’s most beloved cartoons, Walt Disney, once said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we are curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Indeed, successful people don’t stop learning once they graduate from university. They are constantly driven to explore and learn new things and trying new activities. An inquisitive mind also indicates inventiveness and resourcefulness, other qualities essential to success. They are excited about the journey, not the quickest road to riches, and focussed on building a sustainable career that has meaning.

Many successful people are willing to share the secrets of their success, so identify those in your profession you most admire and don’t be afraid to ask for their advice. Keeping the above qualities in mind, consider any new skills you may need to acquire to advance your career in 2014. With today’s ever-changing technologies it’s well worthwhile consulting a Robert Half professional on new software solutions you need to master, how to improve your time management or communication management skills and any new trends in your industry you need to be aware of and gain knowledge about.

Guest Author

Andrew BrushfieldAndrew Brushfield is the Director of Victoria & New Zealand at Robert Half, and is based in our Melbourne office. He was originally an accountant at the Smorgon Group and has spent the past 13 years in the recruitment industry throughout Asia Pacific. In Australia, Andrew excelled in placing senior level finance professionals within a vast range of industries, with particular expertise in the FMCG and IT / Telecommunications industry.