Experts reveal the one important trait that will help you excel in your career

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Helen Booth
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According to one of LinkedIn’s most senior employees, you can achieve career success by embracing one particular personality trait.

A recent profile in Forbes explores how Mike Gamson, LinkedIn’s Senior Vice President of Global Sales Solutions, learned to love his job once he tapped into his compassionate side, a practice which simply involved recognising the needs of others and stepping into the shoes of his colleagues and clients. Doing so allowed him to gain a better understanding of his business, and he also gained an edge over his competitors.

Since compassion is innate, this is good news for everyone. Scientists have also found that living a life full of compassion may be good for our health since it reduces stress and boosts happiness levels.

In order to make sure you are building compassionate habits, Gamson suggests living by three important rules.

1. Only take a job if you know you’ll thrive in it

When job hunting or considering a promotion or career change, Gamson advises really thinking about what your life would look like in the new job – and whether it suits your needs and ambitions.

The more you love a job, the more you will be genuinely engaged with it and better at your work. According to Gamson, this will guard against the danger of working on autopilot and losing interest in your role.

2. Put yourself in other people’s shoes

Humility is important, says Gamson. You will be more likely to create a trusting relationship with clients and colleagues if you make an effort to understand their wants and needs.

Alternatively, while working in your own self interest might lead to a win in the short term, it is more likely to come back to bite you later on.

3. Become an expert

Finally, Gamson suggests picking an area relevant to your business to become an expert in – preferably one that’s different from anything else people in your organisation are studying – and building on your knowledge in that area so that you can help others when they need help.

Your expertise will set you apart and equip you with the kind of empathy and compassion it takes to build long-term professional relationships.

There is, of course, another hidden benefit to tapping into your compassionate side: psychologists have discovered that it might also be the key to preventing burnout in the workplace.

According to a study carried out by the Harvard Business Review, professionals who focused on expressing compassion and empathy were able to connect with others on a deeper level. Expressing empathy also produces physiological effects that calm us in the moment and strengthen our long-term sustainability, and it can even reverse the effects of stress.

So, next time you find yourself having a bad day at work, try lending a hand to someone else – it might improve your whole outlook.

Image: iStock


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Helen Booth

Helen Booth is a London-based writer, digital editor and part-time maker who loves interiors, crafts and keeping tabs on trends. She also co-founded the weekly newsletter Lunch Hour Links.