The Important Qualities of a Consultant

by Neil Kokemuller
General consultants are common, but others specialize in certain types of business situations.

General consultants are common, but others specialize in certain types of business situations.

A consultant is combination of an adviser and a service provider. A consultant may work for a firm or in self-employment. Consultants are hired by various types of organizations to review problems, outline recommendations for resolution and sometimes, provide the services necessary for remedy. Success in a consulting job usually requires several core traits.

Relationship and Communication Skills

Consultants typically work as contractors, hired by an organization for a specific period of time. In essence, a consultant become an extension of the business. The consultant comes in, gets to know managers and employees, listens to concerns, evaluates evidence and recommends solutions. To succeed, a consultant needs a strong relationship orientation. He must gain the trust and a friendly rapport with company leaders to ensure they buy into and follow his recommendations. Along with listening effectively, he must clearly articulate courses of action.

Strong Intuition

A combination of excellent observation and fact-checking skills and intuition help make a great consultant. On one hand, consultants are used to provide an unbiased external perspective on the challenges a company faces. However, within the confines of the business, a consultant often gains some insights from instinct and intuition. In trying to resolve a company morale issue, he might detect some basic factors by informally walking around and engaging employees.

Problem-Solving Skills

Consultants are hired problem-solvers. Thus, they inherently need natural problem-solving skills. Companies hire a consultant because they have tried and failed to resolve an issue themselves, or lack the experience or expertise to try. As a problem-solver, the consultant must know who to talk to, what questions to ask, how to piece together clues, and what remedies work best in combating or putting an end to a business challenge.

Logical and Objective

Despite the emphasis on relationship building and intuition, a consultant also needs the ability to be logical and make objective decisions. Logic means that if a company has a poor teamwork culture, the consultant will pick up on incentives offered by management to top-performing individuals which conflict with team motivation. Objectiveness means that the consultant can build and maintain friendly relations with managers and employees without letter that get in the way of a full investigation and clear communication of the problem and recommendation.

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