This is part 5 of 7 of the “7 Traits Employers Value” series.

To review a bit, below are links to the previous sections of the series.

Over these past few weeks, I’ve been looking at 7 personality traits that are valued by employers in today’s uncertain world.

In the past most of us when we write our resumés focus on our hard skills. And in the past, this was OK. Even a good idea. But these days, when over a thousand people can easily apply for the same job you’re applying for, only discussing hard skills no longer creates a distinctive value proposition for your candidacy, so that you can be seen as unique.

Historically, our hiring systems can seem to be “off” these days. One of the issues believed by employers and searchers alike is that “hard skills” are the traits that make sure the company runs at it’s best.

I disagree.


And yes, someone needs to have the appropriate technical skills to do specific jobs. But I believe it is 7 “soft” personality traits that make the company go ’round. Employers value these 7 traits.

If you don’t have them, you can improve your own set of skills with acknowledgement and work.

Remember that it is the way you do what you do that counts most for what employers value today. No matter your role in the company, everyone is in sales at some point in the company’s existence. Anyone that ever deals with a customer, a future employee, or even a colleague is an ambassador for the firm’s culture and values.

In the past, we seem to have – all of us – inadvertently downplayed the importance of the 7 personality traits that employers now value.


This image shows 7 Personality traits the employers value.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Here is a list of the 7 personality traits employers value most – especially in “hot” situations (to review previous posts, their headings below are actually links to those posts):

  1. Someone that actively listens and communicates well (diffuses conflict)
  2. People with emotional intelligence (EQ), and know how to manage their own emotions
  3. Patient people (humble people)
  4. “No Drama” folks (also see numbers 2 and 3, above)
  5. People that can manage themselves
  6. Employees that can focus on a task
  7. Team members that can practice self-care during the workday (and be more effective as a result)

Here’s number 5 of 7:

7.5. People that can manage themselves

Here is the definition of self-management, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
: management by one’s self or one’s affairs
: Self-management is about finding the self-control and mastery needed to take control of one’s work (e.g., to manage one’s time, workflow, and communication)
– Camille Preston

Further, according to PsychCentral.com, there are 4 ways to define self-management:

1) Techniques that can be used to improve the quality of life for oneself
2) Helping a person stop a bad habit, or conversely, start a good one
3) With a good sense of self-management, one can more easily complete challenging activities
4) When one can achieve a high state of self-management, one can also achieve various other goals

For the purposes of this post, we’ll focus on the last 2 items in this list.

Before we go onto the discussion of costs of not having the 7 traits that employers value, let’s take a short look at the upside of having this particular valuable trait.

When a person has this “get-up-and-go” trait, the company can strongly consider WFH even after the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. It will be easier for you to ask for, and receive bonuses and advancement. If you can be trusted to due to this trait, your employer will be able to give you new assignments you may never have considered before. You will see an entire new world open up for you, because you can be trusted to “figure it out” without being constantly monitored.

And that’s a lot more fun that having your manager watch over your shoulder all the time, right?

Conversely, here’s some context: Micromanagement 

Most of us can probably agree that micromanagement creates a negative environment in the workplace. There are a couple of reasons why micromanagement has been held up as the correct way to manage a department, though. Some of these may even include thoughts that could be correct. I know, I can see you’re rolling your eyes right now.

Let me spell it out for you.

If your group consists of nothing but new employees to the industry, department, or the company, then a bit of micromanagement may be required. But even here, a plan should be put in place that will allow the manager to step back after the training period is over. Once the training period is complete, the employees should be able to do the work they were hired to do for the organization without a great amount of oversight.

This picture shows a magnifying glass, looking over some very technical work. It represents micromanagement in an organization.
Photo by Nothing Ahead on Pexels.com

There are several ways that micromanagement can negatively impact an employee’s behavior. Here are 6:

1) Morale can be lowered to the point where productivity will decrease
2) Studies have shown that micromanagement can create a loss of trust, which can result in the team falling apart
3) If trust is lost and teamwork is as well, people no longer feel that they can innovate and be creative
4) If micromanagement continues for an extended length of time, the manager can find him or herself surrounded by a team of “yes people”
5)  In today’s world of the COVID-19 pandemic, people must be accountable to themselves as well as their managers to be successful
6) People feel they can no longer be creative or to contribute to the bottom line in a meaningful way, they will start looking for new employment with other companies

Losing people is expensive

In fact, justwebworld.com has a post where it talks about the real costs behind losing employees. These real costs spread across advertising the vacancy, reviewing resumes you receive, screening the candidates, interviewing for the position, and training the selected candidate on your processes and technology.

Further costs could include the loss of productivity while the remaining employees do their own work and that work previously performed by the person that left. An interesting point this particular post points out is that the motivation of the remaining staff members may be negatively impacted by the loss of someone.

Picture of a roll of money being held together by red rubber bands. This denotes how money is wasted when people leave the company.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

They go on to point out that if enough people leave due to the extra work, or because they see their friends and colleagues continue to leave, this could cause mass defections. This will raise questions in the mind of your customers as well – “why can’t you hold onto your people?” they’ll think. “Why does it take so long to get customer service on the phone?” “Where are my orders?”

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has compiled several studies that have helped them derive predictions about these costs. SHRM suggests that the cost of losing and refilling a position is equal to 6 to 9 months of that employee’s salary.

The Center for American Progress opines that if a CEO earning only $100,000/year were to walk away from his or her job, the cost to replace them would be $213,000.

As you can see, the cost to replace employees is quite high. Recruit the correct people in the first place – those with the traits most employers now value, and you’ll avoid these costs. And you’ll retain institutional knowledge as well.

Trust the process. Trust your people.

Point of the post

Self-management is arguably the most important of the 7 traits employers value today.


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