As the professional world evolves at a rapid rate, it’s important to stay ahead of the game by developing essential skills through the process of upskilling. A recent survey by Gartner found that 58% of the workforce needs new skill sets to perform well in their jobs. Experts report that rapidly changing dynamics caused by Covid-19 have expanded and exasperated the skills gap. The good news is that you can start to bridge that gap yourself by spending some time learning an important new professional skill!
We’ve decided to compile a list of our top five skills for career professionals – at all levels:
1. Manage Up
Possibly one of the most important skills you can develop for career success is to learn how to manage up. Managing Up is about building and maintaining positive and productive workplace relationships with your boss (and others above you in the organizational chart) so that you can succeed, they can succeed and the organization can succeed. Pay attention to your boss’ workstyle, preferences, priorities, and pet-peeves. Learn how they like to communicate, collaborate, and connect. If you can’t figure your boss out – don’t be afraid to ask them questions directly! Once you know how your boss operates, you can actively adapt your behavior to better align with their preferences. Your boss has a lot of influence over your career trajectory—so do what you can to make that relationship work!
2. Give and receive feedback graciously
Mastering the art of giving and receiving feedback, especially “constructive criticism” benefits everyone. Honing this skill takes practice because being on the giving or receiving end of feedback can be difficult and stressful. When you’re giving feedback, approach the individual from a place of positive intention and highlighting areas for improvement. When receiving feedback, avoid being defensive and justifying the behavior. Always try to find the golden nugget – there’s typically something useful in every feedback encounter. Remind yourself that these conversations actually strengthen relationships by helping you or someone else perform better!
3. Take control of your time
Developing strong time management skills is a must for success in the modern world. Spend some time reflecting on how you manage your time right now. Do you have any systems in place? Or do you show up and wing it each day? Having an awareness of your current behaviors can help you figure out where you’re having difficulty. Then you can seek out the appropriate systems and solutions to take back some of your time.
4. Embrace difficult conversations and healthy conflict
Dealing with conflict and having tough discussions are a reality of the workplace. The inclination to avoid difficult conversations at work is common, but addressing conflict directly can lead to increased innovation, trust, and engagement. This is why learning to navigate conflict in a productive way is so important. Conflict is completely natural and has the potential to help teams improve. The most effective and productive teams anticipate conflict and position themselves to address issues before they erupt.
5. Build valuable relationships
Also known as – networking! Build relationships with your boss, peers, and colleagues to enhance your career. The workplace is a social system which means that you’ll be most successful if you have a robust network around you. Strengthen your network in easy ways like honoring boundaries, asking for – and providing! – favors, and sharing resources to help others meet their goals and priorities. When you build and maintain relationships, you’ll have a support group before you need it.
Lucky for you – we have workshops spanning all of these topics (and then some) if you’re looking for some extra help expanding these essential workplace success skills.