The No. 1 ‘desirable’ trait CEOs look for in employees, says Harvard career expert: It’s ‘a huge currency’


 According to Harvard Business School professor Ranjay Gulati, while intelligence and confidence are valuable qualities in the workplace, the most desirable trait that CEOs look for in their employees is trustworthiness. Trust is foundational to professional relationships, consisting of both character-based trust, indicating reliability, and competency-based trust, reflecting the belief in an individual's capabilities. It's important for employees to focus on developing both aspects to advance in their careers.

Trust is beneficial for both leaders and employees as it sets a positive tone within a team, enabling better collaboration and communication. It also fosters strong professional relationships and can increase an employee's influence within the organization. Trustworthy employees can leverage these relationships to navigate organizational processes more effectively.

Building trust takes time, but beginning by being reliable and transparent with colleagues is a good start. Emphasizing empathy, vulnerability, candor, and transparency in interactions with bosses and colleagues can also forge deeper connections. Acknowledging and celebrating a colleague's work helps create a sense of alliance rather than competition. Furthermore, being open about mistakes and displaying a commitment to improvement can demonstrate vulnerability, contributing to the development of trust.

Ultimately, trust is not only about how others feel about an individual but also about how that individual makes others feel about themselves. It's crucial to make colleagues feel seen, heard, and respected, as these qualities are highly valued in the workplace.  

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