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.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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