Workplace success is something we all desire, and what makes attaining it even more appealing is that it is not necessarily tied to your technical skills. While technical skills are essential because they help you get the job, skills like Effective Communication, Problem Solving and Time management ensure that you not only keep the position but flourish and continue to advance in your career.
In this article, we’ll be listing 7 non-negotiable skills that ensure that you’ll always be considered first for a promotion. We would also share some tips that would help you master these skills.
To move ahead at work, you need to show signs of being a leader right from the onset and all the skills mentioned in this article are skills associated with leaders. You should communicate effectively to everybody, master the art of presentation with enthralling public speaking, and thrive and shine when collaborating with others.
You have to effectively manage and make the best of your time while being proactive in solving problems at work. You also have to be open to any change in circumstances at work and in general.
Communication is the act of passing information between two or more people. At the workplace, however, communication is much more than this. It is the ability to give information clearly such that it is understood by all parties receiving the information.
In the workplace, communication can take several forms; oral, non-verbal, visual, and written communication. One needs to learn the art of active listening and contextual communication to communicate using any of these forms effectively.
Active listening is when you repeat what you just heard in your own words to the speaker to be sure you are on the same page. This helps eliminate misunderstandings and fosters trust.
Contextual communication is putting the receiver of the information in mind by using situations or circumstances they can relate to. For example, suppose a content creator wanted to explain to a makeup artist client how much it hurt to lose some digital content that was not backed up anywhere. She could compare it to a new powder palette falling and shattering in that case.
Contextual communication is about putting yourself in the receiver’s shoes and comparing the situation to something that would matter more to them.
3. Public Speaking
The fear of speaking in public is familiar. Ironically, Public speaking is one of the most critical skills, as presentation is unavoidable at work.
Here are some tips that might help improve your public speaking skill:
1. Read books about public speaking. Several practical books have been proven to help people conquer their fear of facing a crowd; some notable ones are, Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds, The Art of Public Speaking and more
2. Watch videos of remarkable speakers. We have heard stories of people becoming astounding orators by watching how established orators speak. Studying speakers like Oprah Winfrey, Iyanla Vanzant, and Barack Obama would alleviate your public speaking game.
3. Know your audience. Know who your audience is and what matters to them. Then, make your speech about them, not you.
4. Prioritise feedback. Feedback helps. Always. Sometimes it doesn’t always come how we want it, but when you prioritise using feedback to improve your public speaking, you’ll observe improvements in the best ways.
According to Napoleon Hill, author of Think And Grow Rich, one way a human can reach infinite intelligence is by drawing from another person’s subconscious. In other words, working with other people always beats working alone.
It might be trying, at times, to work with people who might come from completely different backgrounds, but that’s the beauty of it! Diversity is always an exceptional learning experience, no matter how small.
Read more on how to work in a team effectively.
5. Time management
Time management is a skill whose importance cannot be overemphasised. Nobody likes an employee or a teammate who does not keep to deadlines or always comes late to meetings. Effective time management involves prioritising and scheduling tasks and setting thoughtful deadlines.
One thing to note while setting deadlines is that a task fills the time allocated. This means that the longer a deadline, the more time is wasted on that task. Setting shorter deadlines helps you complete the tasks quickly and move to other tasks.
Several physical and digital tools can help you plan and manage your time effectively. You could buy a Daily planner in a bookstore. Google Calendar helps with time management within teams. Trello is a tool many swear by for effective scheduling.
Another helpful tool is the Eisenhower matrix. This quadrant helps you know which tasks to prioritise and which to ignore by sorting them into important vs unimportant and urgent vs not urgent.
6. Problem Solving
Problem-solving is a technical skill that most companies test for during the application process. It is also a skill that people take professional courses for. This is because problem-solving is highly prioritised and takes a lot of learning and practice to master.
Unexpected situations will always happen at work, and the ability to never be found wanting when they do will help you move forward even faster at work.
There are four steps to solving a problem, and they are:
Step #1 Identifying and defining the problem involves finding out the cause, consulting with all the parties involved and getting all the information related to the problem.
Step #2 Generate several solutions to the problem. During this step, you need to brainstorm(with other people, if possible) solutions that fix the problem immediately and ensure it never occurs again.
Step #3 Evaluate all the possible solutions and select one. Do this by using all the existing data to pick a solution that all involved parties will accept that wouldn’t cause any unanticipated problems and that does not break any organisational standards.
Step #4 Implement the selected solution and monitor results. Be actively involved in implementing the solution, whether you have to do it yourself or manage others to. Monitoring results and gathering data, especially in the long term, is crucial, as it helps you have relevant data in store for the future.
Being flexible means adapting well to sudden change while easily overcoming stress. This is a highly sought-after skill, especially since we live in an ever-evolving world.
The first step in being flexible is accepting that change is inevitable. The happenings in the world for the past three years have shown how things can change in the blink of an eye, and many people speculate that things will continue to change moving forward.
Another way to master flexibility at work is to develop your skill set. Always stay informed on evolving trends and topics in your industry. Take courses, follow industry platforms and attend industry events. All of these will help you adapt to any change within your industry.
Remember to try to stay calm when such sudden circumstances happen. Also, get a robust support system that would help relieve the pressure when it gets too much.
Before we end this article, there are two crucial things we have to note.
The above skills are not the only recommended soft skills; other helpful ones, like critical thinking, decision-making, and more, also exist. However, the ones above are skills you cannot succeed without. Read up on other skills we have not listed and master them in addition to those listed.
Another is that even though the skills listed above are key, technical skills are highly prioritised. Hence, we recommend you invest in upskilling, primarily if you work in an evolving industry. Don’t stop learning.
Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get a round of updates and helpful tips and resources for career development and life in general