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Last Updated on February 20, 2019

Master These 15 Skills for Success to Get Ahead in Your Career

Master These 15 Skills for Success to Get Ahead in Your Career

You may have been working at a particular job and believe you are fit to lead a team or should be promoted because of the extensive experience and technical skills you have.

But you should understand that the workplace and career trends are constantly evolving. It is a world where creativity and possessing different skills apply.

To meet up to new organizational or workplace objectives, you have to bring something new to the table. While it may go beyond skillsets, other requirements for being selected for a position could be based on personal involvements, attributes or extracurricular activities. In this digital age, you’ll need these set of skills for success to stay ahead:

1. Accountability

There is a difference between passionately volunteering for a project and being committed to its execution. This is where accountability comes in. You really don’t want to bite off more than chew when you take that assignment.

In the modern workplace, you do not simply have to be fully aware of what you are getting into when it comes to accepting a task, you also have to be accountable for the success of such task.

Stepping up and acting responsibly could be what is stopping you from getting that promotion.

2. Adaptability

Nothing stays the same. Change is not something you should shy away from in the modern workplace, rather it is something you should embrace.

Getting stuck to old ways of doing things or old rules may not really help the advancement of your career. You really need to take some time to open your mind to new approaches and thoughts that would help you solve problems faster and better for your organization.

It is indeed all about responding to what the current situation requires. Yes you may have to bend your own rules and beliefs, however, this will eventually make you a good people person and next in line for that promotion.

3. Networking

A simple conversation is not that simple anymore. A simple conversation could pivot your career. You really never know who you are going to meet in life and what impact they could make to influence your career.

It becomes important to hold a conversation with about anyone at any time and make it drive your progress in the workplace.

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From speaking to attending events, and sending out your business card, you surely need to start considering what networking better could do for you.

4. Focus

This one comes down to how productive you want to become. It is hard to focus or concentrate when there are so many things begging for your time in the workplace.

We all reach that point or know that scenario where it is more fun to accomplish the easier things such as checking emails or going through our social media page.

When it comes to standing out and staying ahead, you may need to practice focusing more so that you have more satisfaction and meaning in getting work done.

5. Listening Attentively

Listening attentively is backed by taking the right actions after you understand a matter. You wouldn’t really understand a matter if you don’t listen or question every decision that is made.

Yes, you should be asking for specifics and getting to the root behaviors or observations. This way you would have clearer judgement and take smarter actions.

Take a look at this guide to learn how to listen attentively:

13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

6. Being Innovative

It all comes down to asking the right questions and figuring smarter and better ways of getting results in the workplace. It could be your approach, it could be positioning yourself stronger and meeting the right people in the right way.

You may not necessarily be the hardest worker in the room, but you would be more effective if you push yourself to look for creative solutions to a problem in the work place.

7. Confidence

There is a difference between misguided arrogance about your achievements and developing the ability to stand up for ideas.

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Sometimes, developing confidence helps you to ensure and promote the achievements of others. You need confidence in the workplace if you are to deliver, engage and reach certain goals.

Here’re 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence.

8. Leadership

Leadership skills could be a source of influence for your co-workers and would get them on board on how to reach future objectives. Anyone with leadership skills will always gain visibility within an organization and would certainly be considered for more opportunities or promotions.

These 10 Leadership Qualities Revealed by the World’s Most Successful Leaders will help strengthen your leadership.

9. Communication

Whether it is written or verbal communications, communication skills are vital in the workplace.

One of the major reasons is because it helps foster relationships with co-workers and superiors in the workplace.

With good communication skills, clear expectations can be extracted so that you meet deadlines and deliver excellent work.

Workers are more productive when they know how to communicate with their colleagues in an organization.

10. Teamwork

Certainly, there is not much a company can do if it all depends on the activity of a singular person. Success is achieved when different people are working together for a common objective. Team players tend to build a friendly office culture and aid collaboration.

Moreover, an organization will fare better when its employees can synthesize their varied talents or strengths.

The modern workplace is looking for persons who can collaborate well with co-workers. If you possess the skill of being a good team player, then you are certainly going to be considered for promotions and career advancement.

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11. Persuasive Skills

There is always that point in your career when you have to tell others about your ideas, services or products. You may just be selling any of these things to them.

Persuasive skills are necessary for career advancement because you have to be able to form a strong, convincing argument for why the other person should buy your products or services.

If you want to pick up the art of persuasion, learn these 20 Skills That Make Everyone Agree with What You Say.

12. Negotiating Skills

From negotiating your salary to swaying coworkers to a new way of thinking, you can never underestimate the power of negotiating.

In today’s workplace, good negotiating skills are beneficial during both internal and external discussions. Sellers of a new product or idea and customers always require negotiations to thrive in the marketplace.

If you can have this quality and maximize it, then you have a great chance of moving upwards in your career.

13. Knowing When and How to Show Empathy

Building relationships and sustaining them is important to long term career success. Having the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes helps foster relationships and is a key ingredient to getting ahead in your career.

With empathy, you can provide insights and offer them the support that will help them grow in their job. You don’t have to be in a robotic work environment that limits growth, but with compassion you can steer your coworkers to performing at their peak.

So learn to offer support, sympathy and feedback everyday you do business. This way you will have a more human work environment and would be blessed with positive emotional returns.

14. Problem Solving Skills

You should be proactive at solving problems. Your work environment presents a series of problem solving situations.

To be proactive at solving problems in an organization means you are willing to go the extra mile to take the pressure off your boss and colleagues. With this skill, you are sure to get ahead in your career.

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Here’re 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills.

15. Patience with Others

Your patience with others could be vital in a tense situation. While the modern workplace could present stressful situations, how patient you are with coworkers and your superiors could determine your career advancement.

Patience is a difficult skill, however this skill will be noticed by management and perceived as a very strong asset in pushing the company forward.

There will be times when troublemakers are brought to book for their actions, but you wouldn’t be one of them if you have patience as an asset or skill.

Not sure how to practice patience? Some advice for you here:

Why Impatience is Ruining Your Life and How to Practice Patience and 

The Bottom Line

It is not simply about having the aforementioned skills, it is about maximizing them and using them for your career advancement.

You should understand that these skills make you more human, more prepared for new challenges. The more you demonstrate these abilities, the faster your career will advance.

You have to understand that such skills will help forge relationships, build diplomacy and respect while you become at the center of both individual success and corporate productivity. These skills will also help when mitigating conflict and reducing bad behavior in the office.

The modern workplace needs strong and effective corporate leaders brimming with positivity and confidence that will inspire growth and make a better workplace.

More Resources About Career Advancement

Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

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Casey Imafidon

Specialized in motivation and personal growth, providing advice to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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