Parting thoughts from a career-development writer.

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Back in November 2012, I began writing a weekly career column here for The Seattle Times Jobs, carefully considering and crafting topics that I hope have helped readers feel like they had a career coach in their corner, helping them through difficult times and tough decisions, cheering them on when they were feeling low and walking them through each step in the job search and job promotion processes.

Throughout 2017, I’ve had ideas for another book swirling around in my head and energizing me about the future. So, after a lot of consideration, I’ve decided to step away from my weekly career column to focus on my next book. Or two. Or three.

Don’t worry, I won’t be gone for good. You’ll probably see an article from me every now and then, when a career topic that I’m passionate about strikes my fancy. You just never know.

Which leads me to this final column. I’ve considered many different career topics, but none felt right. I think that’s because I really wanted this last one to be not just what’s in my head, but what’s in my heart.

Then suddenly, it hit me. I should write about my passion for the last 30 years of my career: my “7 C’s” of leadership.

Throughout my career, I’ve been helping younger generations become the business leaders of tomorrow and infusing their leadership style with these “7 C’s” of leadership:

Curiosity. Life is meant for learning, and this is true throughout your career as well. Feed your curiosity each day by discovering how things work and why they work that way. Then, begin a quest to find better ways of doing things so you can add value to your job, the organization and even the world.

Connectional intelligence. Don’t get so wrapped up in little details that you fail to see the big picture. Understand how what you do affects those around you and impacts the organization, customers and society. Learn to see connections that others don’t.

Collaboration. One of the best things that makes our world so richly unique is how very different everyone is. Embrace these differences and use them to your advantage by learning to work well with everyone.

Character. If you were to be judged solely on your essential personal qualities, what would those qualities include? Strive to develop character traits that will positively distinguish you no matter what situation you’re in, such as integrity, honesty, respectfulness, humility and fairness.

Lisa Quast, columnist for The Seattle Times Jobs
Lisa Quast, columnist for The Seattle Times Jobs

Courage. Life isn’t easy — and it wasn’t meant to be, because then we probably wouldn’t learn all that much. It’s through the difficult times that we usually learn the most. Having courage is about the willingness to push forward even when we’re scared or unsure. It’s about standing up for what we know is right, even when we may be the lone voice.

Candor. This quality refers to being open, honest and sincere in our interactions with others. It’s about not trying to hide our imperfections; instead, celebrating those quirky little differences and being authentic with ourselves, with our emotions and in our discussions.

Compassion. The Dalai Lama once said, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” The daily practice of compassion is so important that many universities, such as Stanford, have begun Compassion Cultivation Training to help people reduce stress and increase engagement, collaboration, innovation and even job satisfaction.

I leave you with one heartfelt request: Please practice these seven behaviors — and then help me train younger generations to become the business leaders of tomorrow by infusing their leadership style with these wonderful traits.

Lisa Quast is a certified executive coach, and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at lquast@careerwomaninc.com.