Having the right skills for a job is what sets you apart from the rest of the competition. However, the desired skills do not always come down to on-the-job knowledge, like being proficient with the latest tech or being a good salesperson. The ideal employee also possesses those essential soft skills – skills that allow you to operate on a more personal level beyond the technical side. These are skills that are pretty much universal in the workforce. No matter the industry or position you hold, having these skills is essential for being a valuable member of the team. If you’re looking to get hired or reach that next level, be sure to know what will separate you from the competition.
We’ve talked about this quality and how it relates to boomers many times before. There is a common misconception that professionals past a certain age are unwilling or unable to adapt to new scenarios at work. Naturally this is something that can hold you back as the working world is in constant motion. What is used one week can be outdated the next. Being able to roll with changes and stay on your toes inspires confidence from your employer that you are able to be thrown into any situation and still be effective.
If there is one universal quality that needs to be improved across just about every work environment, it’s communication. Good communication helps the entire office operate more efficiently. It can be small things like ensuring feedback is given in a clear and helpful way. It can also be much bigger, like being able to communicate the company’s desired message in an effective way. A professional who demonstrates an ability to communicate well is seen as a valuable member of any team.
While most of us likely see ourselves as capable and personable professionals, conflicts will no doubt arise within the workplace. Different personalities, styles of work and stressful situations make conflict inevitable. Therefore, an ideal employee is not expected to have no conflicts but rather be able to deal with the conflicts themselves. When a conflict does come up, these professionals are able to address it in a effective manner that does not affect productivity, satisfies all parties involved and requires no further mediation.
When some people hear the word ‘creative’ they think artistic and convince themselves that creativity is not needed for their line of work. But while it might not be used in a day-to-day sense, or be overly apparent, every job can benefit from a creative mind and creative approaches to the work. It is a skill that can mean many different things, but the essential selling point is that it means you can think outside the box. When conventional ideas and methods aren’t working, the solution is usually found with those who are able to open their mind to new ways of doing things and try a fresh approach.
Often on the job, employees will be called upon to give a critical examination of the work at hand. It takes a skilled eye to be critical of someone’s work and also the skill to be able to communicate the critical take in a way that is respectful and helpful. Even more difficult and important, is being able to take the same critical observation of your own work and be honest with yourself. Such employees not only better their own work but the work of those around them as well.
When confronted with an issue, how one deals with it often speaks volumes to their professionalism. Some become flustered and anxious when confronted with difficult issues. However, those ideal employees are able to confront the problem and find ways to solve it. A manager does not want to be bothered to come to an employee’s rescues every time the unexpected happens. Professionals who are not derailed by these problems and are effective enough to find workable solutions need little managing and show the potential for leadership roles.
If there’s one thing managers hate doing, it’s micromanaging. Yes, their job requires a certain part of supervision, but when it comes to the smaller projects, they hope employees can handle them on their own. Of course, someone inevitably needs to take the lead and those employees who can oversee a small group of co-workers and see a project completed successfully certainly stick out above the rest. It takes a knowledge of the various departments, a keen attention to detail, and leadership ability for effective project management. Certainly another skill that suggests management potential.
Every successful and efficient workplace excels because all the various moving parts are able to work in harmony. The best ways to achieve this is with employees who have superior teamwork skills. Excelling at this skill doesn’t mean agreeing with everything your co-worker says or staying out of the way. Rather good teamwork comes from someone who can keep an open mind, have their own ideas, be respectful and collaborate effectively. Not all professionals can handle all those requirements. However, every workplace is one big team and being able to work effectively as a member of that team is essential.
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