What Is Determination? (With Definition, Examples and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 4, 2022

Published December 12, 2019

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Determination is a skill necessary for accomplishing various goals and objectives in your personal and professional life. It allows you to persevere and continue working toward achieving important milestones. Learning more about determination can help you progress in your career and motivate you to accept many workplace challenges. 

In this article, we explain what determination is, list its benefits in the workplace, explore the typical traits of determined people and offer tips to help you improve your determination. 

What is determination?

Determination is the commitment to achieve your goals, regardless of the challenges you might experience. It often includes being decisive and demonstrating resoluteness. People who express determination continue to work to achieve their goals, regardless of other factors. For example, an athlete might show determination when completing a marathon by continuing to run despite the weather or the difficulty of the terrain. Their determination also provides them with them the motivation to wake up early to train before the race. In the workplace, determination may entail persevering to receive a promotion or a raise. 

Related: Factors of Motivation: Understanding What Motivates Employees

Benefits of determination in the workplace

Determination can be an essential trait for employees and leaders, as it helps keep them engaged in their work, even on busier days. Here are some of the primary benefits of this trait in the workplace: 

Hopeful feelings

Throughout your professional career, you may experience a variety of stressors, such as demanding customers, but determination can help you resist the urge to quit. Whether you have several upcoming deadlines or your manager changes your duties, determination can help you keep working and feel more hopeful. Focusing on the potential benefits of persevering can motivate you to continue producing high-quality work, even during uncertain times. 

Related: 63 Hard Work Quotes To Help Motivate You and Achieve Success

Increased creativity

Determination also can help increase your creativity by enabling you to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. For example, if you've asked for resources to help you complete a project at work but your manager isn't sure where to find them, determination can help you research creative ways to save money to finish the project on time and under budget. If the project is overly complex, your determination can help you consider different ways to simplify it. Your creativity can help you demonstrate your adaptability in the workplace. 

Related: Your Guide To Improving Your Creativity at Work

Encourages perseverance

The more determined you are, the more you might be able to persevere to achieve your goals. For example, if you want a promotion, your determination can help you demonstrate your skills to your manager and continue to persuade them of your abilities until they promote you. Making an effort to lead others and complete tasks that aren't your direct responsibility can also demonstrate your determination to earn a promotion to your employer and may impress them. The ability to persevere to achieve your goals is often an important soft skill that employers prefer their employees to have.  

Related: 10 Key Strengths To Develop for Career Advancement

Helps you motivate others

There are many types of employees in the workplace, and some might be optimists and consider the positives of a situation. In contrast, others might be more pessimistic and emphasize the negative aspects of a situation. Determination can help you motivate both types of employees and convince them that it's possible to accomplish tasks if everyone works together. Adopting a positive attitude and remaining determined can inspire others to act similarly to you. Expressing your determination can help empower others to work to achieve their own goals, regardless of your position in the company.

Related: 95 Team Management Quotes To Help You Motivate Others

Provides guidance and motivation

Determination can help you become actively engaged in the workplace and motivate you when you feel distracted or confused. It can also help you overcome challenges and continue to improve your work. For example, if you discover that it's difficult to achieve your sales goals, determination can help motivate you to explore new ways to achieve those goals and obtain leads. Determination allows you to improve your belief in yourself and can provide you with guidance if you're unsure of what to do in a particular situation. 

Related: How To Apply Self-Motivation in the Workplace

Traits associated with determination

Here are a few traits that determined people often have that you can try to emulate and practice on your own: 

Goal setting 

People that are highly determined take steps to establish goals for themselves. For example, an aspiring marathon runner might begin by running one mile and adding a mile to their run each day until they can develop the stamina required to complete a full marathon. In the workplace, a person determined to earn a promotion might write their primary goal and establish a timeline for obtaining the promotion. Each day, they might aim to accomplish a smaller goal demonstrating their leadership potential, such as completing a specialized course. 

Related: 15 Tips for Goal Setting

Forward-thinking 

Determination allows professionals to consider their futures and plan their careers based on their long-term goals. Rather than relying on external factors to influence their decisions, they spend time thinking about their professional development and taking the steps necessary to advance in their careers. For example, a determined accountant who wants to find a new job might spend their time outside of work searching for available positions, improving their accounting skills and preparing for interviews. By taking responsibility for their own development, determined people can help reduce the uncertainties and stressors in their lives. 

Related: Big Picture Thinking: Definition, Strategies and Careers

Positive thinking 

Being determined helps people think more positively about challenging situations and enables them to avoid negative emotions. For example, a journalist receives a difficult assignment requiring speaking to someone who doesn't want an interview. Rather than complaining about the assignment, they might consider it a learning opportunity and think about how to best adapt the story so that it still addresses the topic. By addressing the positive future outcomes rather than expressing concern about a setback, people who are determined can motivate their colleagues and set a positive standard of behavior in the workplace. 

Related: 10 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude

Inward thinking

Highly determined individuals are often rarely concerned with what others think of them. They regularly spend time achieving their goals without worrying about how their colleagues feel. For example, a professional who wants to achieve an internal promotion may experience negativity from other employees who want the same promotion. Still, their determination can help them ignore that negativity to continue developing their skill set. The ways people demonstrate their determination may be different, but having a self-focus can help them communicate more effectively and improve the quality of their professional relationships.

Related: 8 Steps To Improve Your Self-Awareness (With Tips)

Work Ethic
Image description

Ways to demonstrate work ethic:

  1. Put away distractions

  2. Ask for help to identify areas for improvement

  3. Spend your time wisely on tasks that align with goals

  4. Organize your notes, inbox and workspaces for increased focus, motivation and time management

  5. Take breaks throughout the day to avoid burnout

  6. Identify motivators such as tasks, goals or colleagues

  7. Practice time management to complete quality, on-time work and be more present in meetings

Tips to improve your determination

Developing your determination involves learning and successfully applying a variety of skills, such as goal-setting, to several different situations. If you hope to improve your determination in the workplace, here are some tips for you to consider:

  • Assess your expectations. Develop goals for yourself to achieve and evaluate your expectations for yourself. For example, if you want to become fluent in another language to work abroad, develop a set of realistic expectations to guide you as you begin your language lessons and assess what you've learned after each lesson.

  • Understand your abilities. Be realistic about your capabilities and leverage your strengths to help improve your determination. For example, you might use your excellent interpersonal communication skills to help your colleague persuade a potential customer to invest in a new product. 

  • Remain flexible. To become more determined, accepting risks in exchange for a potential reward can sometimes be necessary. For example, if you're unsure which technology to replace an old system, you might evaluate and test each to help you make the right decision.


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