In my opinion, the following professional traits (positive traits) are very important in corporate life.
Positive Traits: Honesty and truthfulness, polite and courteous, down to earth, ownership and accountability, self-organized and self-dependent
I give a lot of emphasis to the above mentioned traits. I believe the above mentioned traits define your professional character. And if you have the highest quality of professional character, sky is the limit and you can do any work with ease. One of the fundamental differences between these behavioral characteristics and technical skills is that – these traits are inherent and cannot be taught to large extent. One can try to inspire a person to follow the path of honesty but only to a certain extent. If the person’s natural wiring of mind is such that it knows only vicious intentions then even best of the teacher’s can’t do much. On the other hand, technical competency is a science which can always be learnt provided one has the aptitude to know and work with technology. Technical knowledge of respective job function (be it programming skill or any other skill like HR, sales, project management) can always be developed easily if someone has right attitude and ability to learn. IMO, working in IT industry is not a rocket science. But still people fail, people get terminated, people develop poor quality software and develop poor relations – all of this because they miss one or more of the above mentioned positive traits. People become so much focused on impressing the boss that they stop learning, stop developing skills, take short-cuts using below mentioned negative traits.
Negative Traits: Dishonesty, Lie, Back-biting, Politics, Passing the buck, Arrogance, Hypocrisy, Treating people with disrespect etc.
This also reminds me the message of the bollywood movie ‘3 Idiots’ that says develop capabilities to such an extent that you don’t have to chase success but success will follow you. And this cannot happen without having the highest professional character. But the problem with the modern age people and some aged project managers is that they want to achieve everything (money, power, status etc.) quickly. In the pursuit of this, they follow short-cuts that obviously mean diluting professional character. Instead of developing competency and skill, people hide incompetency by telling a lie, deception, back-biting, politics etc. These things are cleverly used as a tool for shortcut to success. These may give good returns in short-term but lost in the lust of short term success (money, power, status), people never realize when they have lost their character. They start treating work as commodity which they want to sell and showcase. They sell this commodity to impress the boss, to get best (not good but the best) rating in appraisal and maximum salary hike and to get more authority in company affairs. Actually there is no need to focus on any of these things but rather keep demonstrating your competency by doing work with honesty and above mentioned good professional traits. Your work and character will automatically speak for itself and you will get everything.
In my humble opinion, people should stay away from these negative traits. There is no substitute of honesty, it is still the best policy and would always remain.
I believe that path of honesty and truthfulness is not easy. Indian audience would know that the Lord Rama in Ramayana had to go to exile and similarly Pandavas in Mahabharta faced many ordeals on their path of honesty and dharma. But eventually in the long run they were the winners and history remembers them. But there are people who will always pull you back. There is always fight between clean intentions and malicious intentions. People may take these positive traits as your weakness, may take advantage of your honesty but joy of these people is always short-lived. Even those great characters like Rama and Pandavas faced politics.
Another important aspect of negative professional character is hypocrisy. I have seen people saying very nice and all goodie things in front of their boss to impress him and earn his good will, but when they go back to their desk – they show very different colors. These people also cleverly prove their innocence and helplessness in front of their boss (and also peers) to gain his sympathy and pampering. Again, in their real time actions – these people demonstrate their political intentions and hidden agenda. This kind of behavior is a pure deception or in other words of duplicity of character which is never good.