What Qualities Are Needed To Be A Successful Business Consultant?
To succeed as a consultant requires a look at ones own business. Being self-employed, a consultant’s survival lies in their ability to find work, which involves promoting skills amongst peers and the individual’s network.
Centres of influence are also essential. Centres of influence are people in authority and who are well respected in their field, who recommend an individual to others. Their influence is such that when they recommend someone, that person instantly has credibility.
Others call these “referrers”, and they are, but the key is to convert a referrer into a centre of influence. Choose these people wisely and treat them with great respect.
In order to accomplish these tasks, and to be successful as a consultant, there are certain personal qualities that are considered essential.
Objectivity is Crucial for a Consultant
A consultant is required to establish trust and rapport with people at all levels of an organisation. This involves listening without prejudice, and not judging until they have all the necessary information.
Objectivity is crucial to any consultant. It allows them to view the situation from a helicopter point of view, and demands that they listen to both sides of every argument and idea presented.
If a consultant is to walk into a business and quickly assess where the issues are, then objectivity is essential.
Selling Skills are Needed by all Consultants
To be a successful salesperson there is a set of skills required. Some of these skills are also required by a consultant, and include being able to quickly establish rapport, the ability to listen, to empathise, and to quickly develop trust.
If a person cannot talk to everyone in an organisation from the receptionist to the Manageing Director, if they are uncomfortable in meeting new people, or if they talk and do not listen then they will fail as a consultant.
A Consultant Needs People Skills
This is the ability to interact with people in a respectful, relaxed manner.
The key word here is respect. Many intelligent people lack people skills, and hence do not know when to be tactful, when to just stop talking and listen, when to voice their ideas and when not to.
Put simply, people skills encompass the ability to interact with others in a manner that makes them feel comfortable and secure, and where they know their opinions and ideas are important.
Without people skills, a person cannot be a leader, and a consultant needs to lead.
Leadership In Consulting
The qualities of leadership required as a consultant are:
Assertiveness is not being dictatorial. Assertiveness is being able to vocalise an opinion and ideas in a confident and commanding manner. This is essential otherwise others are unlikely to believe what a consultant says.
Knowledge and experience are intertwined. Knowledge is needed to acquire experience, and experience in itself brings knowledge.
Empathy is the ability to “put yourself in the other person’s shoes”. To see an issue from all angles and viewpoints is necessary in order to develop and implement key strategies. If a person is unable to exhibit empathy, and take into account the needs, fears and expectations of all staff then their client will not implement the necessary changes they have recommended.
Summary of Consultant Qualities
In essence, the key attributes required by a consultant are objectivity and the ability to be aware of all the issues facing each stakeholder in the business.To be successful in this, a consultant requires sales skills, people skills, leadership qualities and the ability to articulate all of these skills assertively.
Read more at Suite101: Key Personal Qualities of a Consultant: What Qualities Are Needed To Be A Successful Business Consultant? http://management-careers.suite101.com/pages/article.cfm/key_personal_qualities_of_a_consultant#ixzz0t4ODicKb