If you want to be successful in the workplace then you need to go out of your way to make sure that you’re learning the skills that are going to help you to get the job done. This holds true whether you’re self-employed, whether you work for someone else or even whether you run your own business.
The problem is that it isn’t always easy to know which skills you need to learn, especially if you don’t have a mentor to guide you in the right direction. That’s where this article comes in. Here are our recommendations for the ten most essential skills for the office. Get ready to start learning.
1. Conversation Skills
It’s difficult to overstate how important it is to be able to hold down a good conversation. By chatting to people (but not about them – avoid gossip like the plague), you establish relationships and build your reputation in the company and beyond. You never know where your colleagues might end up and so it pays to build friendships now as an investment in the future.
Unless you’re an actual genius on the level of Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci, it’s more important for you to be consistent than to have occasional flashes of brilliance. People want to work with people they can rely on, so if you establish a reputation for consistency then you’ll be the first port of call when important people need important things doing.
3. Time Management
Time management is an undeniably important skill because if you can manage your own time, your colleagues can simply ask for your help and leave you to get on with it instead of having to micromanage you. This doesn’t mean just blindly saying “yes” to people, though. You need to communicate your workload at all times and only commit to getting work done if you can meet the deadline.
Things will go wrong and people will annoy you. That’s just a fact of life, and being professional means rising above it and having the patience you need to get through the tough times. If you’re impatient or if you have a short temper, you’re going to earn a reputation as someone who’s unpleasant to work with.
Flexibility is important because the business landscape is ever-changing and it’s your job to help your company to move with the times. This means adapting your approach if it isn’t working and being willing to drop and reschedule tasks if something more important comes in. Become a “yes man” and find ways to make things happen instead of just saying that something’s impossible.
Building on from the last point, if you’re able to build a reputation for being a problem solver then you’re going to stand out from the crowd. Of course, that also means that people will come to you with their problems, but if you can help to solve them then they’re going to owe you a favour or two.
7. Data analysis
Being able to understand data and to use it to make decisions will help you to make sure that everything you do is having a measurable impact on the company. Data analysis used to be a skill that only tech teams needed to worry about. Now it’s a fundamental part of everything from sales and marketing to finance, recruitment and more.
8. Conflict resolution
Jayne Gibson, an HR specialist at BestEssays.com.au, says, “Conflict resolution is one of the most important skills that we look for, especially in middle managers. If you’re able to resolve conflicts between different team members, you become a vital part of your organization. It literally can’t function properly without you.”
Speaking of middle managers, it’s always good to be able to manage a team. Even if your current role doesn’t involve any management, if you can take the initiative on different projects and show your potential as a leader, you’ll soon find yourself rising up the career ladder. It’s something of a catch-22. You need to show that you can be a leader before you’re ever put into that kind of situation.
Nobody likes a show-off. That’s why it’s so important to demonstrate that you can be humble, giving credit to fellow employees where it’s due and working on other people’s ideas when they’re chosen ahead of your own. Even the most successful people appreciate that they can’t do everything themselves. And without humility, you’ll never be able to work as part of a team because nobody will be willing to work with you.
By now, you should have a good idea of the skills that will help you to get ahead in the workplace. The next step is to start putting what you’ve learned into practice by working on these skills and trying to develop them over time. The good news is that you can find guides on most of these skills for free online, and all it takes is a little effort to get better at it.
Remember as well that these aren’t skills that you can just turn on and off when you need them. Your conversation skills and your patience, for example, will be tested all the time. But instead of seeing this as a problem, you should look at it as an opportunity. It’ll help you to keep developing these skills over time until you’re the best version of you that you can be. Good luck!