Embracing some negative character traits can help you succeed at work. Here’s how We spend so much time berating ourselves for being disorganized, or loud, or overly excitable. But what if the key to career success was to embrace these ‘bad’ tendencies?


When feelings of jealousy arise, prompting you to question how to achieve a promotion, it's essential to channel that negativity into a positive mindset. The first step is to identify your negative characteristics, which requires self-awareness—a skill that takes time and practice to develop. Dedicate at least 15 minutes each day to self-reflection, asking open-ended questions such as, "How did I embody my values today?" and "How do I aspire to live my values tomorrow?"

Understanding your strengths, weaknesses, and values is crucial to becoming more self-aware. Through introspection, you can distinguish behaviors you want to retain and those you wish to change. It's important to communicate openly with your team, not by making excuses for your behavior, but by explaining why you find meaning in certain tasks. For example, as a leader, you could say, "I believe trust is built by responding in a timely manner, which we can determine together. This is important to me."

However, it's vital to remember that turning negative traits into positives does not justify being disrespectful or unkind. You must cultivate an understanding of appropriate workplace behavior. If you are a leader, it's your responsibility to create an environment where team members feel safe expressing their true selves and explaining why they approach projects in a certain way. This fosters empathy and deeper connections within the team.

By developing a dynamic in which team members openly communicate and feel psychologically safe to speak up, you create a sense of unity. This cohesiveness leads to better team performance, with studies showing that connected teams are 21% more profitable and experience 59% less turnover, according to Gallup's employee engagement analysis.

To cultivate high-performing teams, leaders should evaluate the group dynamic. If someone's behavior seems inadequate, leaders should ask, "How can we leverage their strengths to support the team's mission?" For instance, a restless individual can keep everyone on track with project timelines, boosting progress and ambition.

Once you've prioritized self-reflection and effectively communicated your approaches, you may wonder if it's necessary to eliminate these perceived "negative" qualities. The best approach is to accept them and embrace them because they are integral to who you are. By embracing your character traits, you can harness their potential to work for your benefit.  

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