Having good people skills helps a lot, and I was lucky that I grew up with people who taught me how to be sensitive to what other people needed so that I could help them meet those needs.
I also love to spend time thinking after I learned from an older friend who was an up and coming management trainee that this is what successful managers do: think. At first, I thought it was a waste of time, but one day, when I tried it out as I planned for an important event (actually, a party for some cousins who were visiting from out of town), it dawned on me that it was cool. Spending an hour thinking, writing things down, going through the plan over and over again saved me some hours that I would have used correcting mistakes, changing plans, or saying I'm sorry for screwing up.
Since that day, I invested some time to think things through instead of attacking each activity without a plan, based on sheer determination alone. This was how I learned to clarify goals, think of the best people who can take the assignment, and knowing how to communicate the goals, the assignment, and the deadline in a way that encouraged them.
I also learned to make the most out of mistakes others committed, making them (and myself) see the positive side, the things we learned from those mistakes, instead of wasting time finger-pointing that got us nowhere. So much time is wasted looking for someone to blame that if people only used that time learning, they could have accomplished much more.
Thinking also helps me improve my productivity. Before I work on anything, I think about why I am doing it (goal), how much time I have (time), and what I need to reach the goal within the time limit (resources). If I needed things I didn't have, I would ask for it; and if I didn't get it, I would think how I could improvise. I learned that in the real world, we cannot get everything we want, but the world still expects much from us. That's the way the world turns, so instead of whining about not having everything I needed, I instead find a way to use my creative imagination to move forward and start getting to work.
I also make it a point to teach these same skills and work habits to the people I work with, more so with those whom I want to do things for me. And I am not afraid they would replace me or get higher pay, because making myself dispensable also makes me promotable.
How can I be asked to work on bigger things if I don't train people to take my place
More than knowing how to work and motivate others to be productive, I also have a higher goal, a mission to see the world and help other people, because I have always wanted to reach out and make a mark in other's lives. This is why I enjoy working as part of a team.
One summer, I read a book (Maxwell, 1998) a friend gave me. In fact I still have it on my bedroom shelf, and it struck a raw chord inside. Right then and there, I knew that I wanted to be a leader, to make my life useful, to be different by studying and working harder and doing things not because others were doing them, but because it was the good and right thing to do. This thought has served me well ever since.
What keeps me satisfied in my job
The first thing is the nature of the job itself. I want to grow, learn, and contribute to the