If you think of yourself as “ambitious,” “multidimensional,” or a “high-energy person” and have long-term focus and self-discipline, you may be what we call a high achiever. This article describes your most outstanding personality traits and how they land in the workplace. If you often come across as overwhelming, threatening, or impatient, you will find specific advice to strengthen your communication, work relationships, and career development. You can apply those tips as well to your personal life. Do you want to be promoted to a manager position, or are you managing high achievers yourself? Learn more on How to Manage High Achievers in the workplace.
A high achiever is a person who delivers on high standards consistently, and in all realms of life. They may consider themselves ambitious, enthusiastic, highly energetic, or career-oriented.
They don´t get easily offended when others call them workaholics. They know their ambition comes with a high level of resilience and extremely fast, effective, and robust delivery.
High achievers are ambitious in all realms of life.
High achievers strive to operate with high standards of quality and results both at home and in the boardroom. They are enthusiastic, often strategic, structured, punctual, and well-organized.
Above all, they are goal-oriented, perfectionists, and tough on themselves. They're driven by challenges and long for them in all areas of life.
Let 's see how.
Use this checklist to determine the density of traits, both positive and negative, you recognize in yourself. This quiz is not a diagnosis, but identifying your most common features will help you connect the dots and understand how they determine how you think, relate, and operate in your work and personal life.
High achievers: general personality traits
Provide and indicate directions to others
Identify opportunities others can’t/don´t see
Great at working under pressure and stress
Make quick decisions in crises
Bold and courageous under pressure
Experts that prepare and analyze
Empathic on their terms
|They can be “heavy” on family as career is their focus
Dispersed focus: lots of goals or projects at once
Overwhelming to others
High expectations for themselves and others (at work, in relationships, or in sports)
Not easy to trust others
Don’t take time for praise, celebration, or rest
Work over holidays
Give straightforward feedback
Come across as “brutal”
Perceived as superficial
Considered often non-emphatic leaders
Lacking work-life balance
When they obsess with challenges that aren't their own to equal others, they lose focus and orientation, taking themselves to the edge of burnout. Once they meet a challenge, they throw themselves into the next one, incapable of stopping or pausing.
There's no such thing as "non-high achievers." What exists are people who are more focused on tasks who thrive in the field of execution, and we usually call them high achievers. High achievers typically prioritize their career goals over other realms of life.
I also know high achievers who operate the other way around and prioritize their fulfillment and inner growth in the same ferocious way. The latest usually have more empathic traits; both are perfect for balancing each other.
Their constant drive can be overwhelming and certainly is for their friends and family.
There's a difference between how high achievers perceive themselves and how they land on others.
If you want to avoid clashes and get your teams thriving, understanding the difference is crucial to both employees and managers:
High achievers have empathy: they decide with whom to use it and when.
They consider others and understand they can't do things alone. But if they prioritize, they will always prioritize the task and the goal. They lead the company with high-level standards, multiple objectives, and a high speed of execution by perfection.
For others, they might be too much. Be aware.
Your vision and energy are among your most wanted traits. However, you must actively involve your boss and colleagues in the opportunity creation, delivery, and implementation process to be engaging.
Listen to what they have to say, and:
High achievers can be hard to follow.
That's because their minds are fast. They are thrilled by their ideas and rumble in different directions, unaware of the energy others have to invest in following them or staying on track.
In conversation with others, slow down to:
As proof of self-leadership, let your managers and colleagues know the conditions you need to thrive best. I'm aware this advice will freak you out. For us, asking for support and feedback or being outspoken about our needs demonstrates weakness. So tough (and vulnerable) are we.
Many of us seek recognition and appreciation in tortuous ways, unnecessarily making relationships with colleagues and managers difficult.
The best way around this is to develop your self-leadership skills
I advise you to dive deep into your personality and intrinsic motivators and work on your communication and emotional intelligence skills.
As a starting point, you can use the following ideas to let your managers know your needs. You operate best when managers:
The best thing your managers can do for you is to create the conditions for you to stay focused on the action, the advancement, and the progression toward your goal.
You must understand that collaborating will be more productive in the long run as a high achiever than a solo performance. Does this come as a surprise?
Here are five golden partnerships you can seek when creating a team or integrating yourself into one:
As a high achiever myself, I partner in my team and with external collaborators who:
Please dedicate time and resources to figure yourself out. The PCM personality test can help you identify your traits and how to turn them into strengths, wrapped into a specific action plan and individual coaching guidance.
As an executive search consultant, I will recommend you as a high achiever to focus on this selection and understand why:
Understand well your intrinsic motivation
That means your why and the conditions in which you perform best. You´ll thrive when you find or create the freedom to make independent decisions and feel empowered to contribute individually.
High achievers will perform very well as experts, team leaders, directors of global units, and also in regional roles because:
As a manager, knowing the nuances of how to support high achievers at work so everyone feels at ease and stays engaged and motivated is crucial.
For a high achiever, the most important thing is to be aware of themselves. That includes their personality traits and professional profile. In the early stages, raising awareness may be enough.
However, you´ll soon conclude that you need subtle behavior adjustments and practical hands-on guidance at your high achiever speed and ambition ratio.
As a high achiever myself and executive coach to many high achievers in management positions, I'm sharing three pivotal eye-openers that will mark a turning point in your life and career
Our most giant trap is our “soloist” attitude.
We high achievers are slow in coming to terms with the fact we can perform better when having external support. We distrust that others can understand, empower and support us without clipping our wings or lowering our ambition and standards.
Skill training and mentorship won't do the trick for us.
We're exceptional, and we deserve outstanding support. Formal training or advice only sometimes applies to us. Soon we're disappointed, feeling we're wasting money and time. Even worse, painfully concluding no one can get us or help us. That's not true.
We´re not that many, but certainly, you´re not alone.
Executive coaching will be a great support to connect the dots between your potential, performance, and work-life balance. These are some examples where executive coaching can be of use for you as a high achiever:
If the above triggers your ambition and energy, please get in touch. I want to get to know and support you in your career path. I mean it when I say the world needs "go-getters" like us.
You can book a breakthrough call here.
To your success,
I'm the founder of BOC Institute, one of the renowned consulting and executive search agencies for international companies operating in Slovenia and South-East Europe.
I coach CEOs and top managers 1:1 worldwide. I'm here to save you time, energy, and money through your objectives, decision-making, and leadership development. I understand we can change the world one coaching session at a time!
Do you feel like having a call? You can reach out here and let me guide you from there.
Simona Špilak www.simonaspilak.com
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