Here are 16 skills you can develop to help you succeed in the workplace:
In nearly all industries, employees perform many everyday tasks using computer software and programs. Employers need team members who are familiar with common programs, like email, word processing, and spreadsheet programs as well as who are comfortable learning new programs. When you begin a job, you will likely be learning a range of new software and industry- or company-specific programs. Spend some time learning computer basics and familiarize yourself with common programs in your field, which shows initiative and engagement.
In addition to computer skills, you should understand any technological or mechanical components related to your field. For example, medical device salespeople must be able to demonstrate how their products work and answer questions from buyers. Skilled tradespeople, like plumbers and electricians, must be proficient in field-specific instrumentation and tools. Having technological skills also includes knowing all safety guidelines and regulations associated with equipment use and maintenance.
Teamwork is important for an organization to run smoothly and efficiently. You should be supportive of your colleagues and able to ask for help when needed. Teamwork involves having a collaborative spirit and being open to working with others and sharing the credit for professional successes. Businesses can be more productive and more innovative when teams work cohesively and put the company’s goals ahead of pursuing individual success.
Organizational skills can help employees in a range of positions be more productive. Having a clean, organized workspace, physically and digitally, can help you find things quicker, decrease distractions and help improve your focus. To improve your organizational skills, consider reading books on the topic or taking an online workshop to help you learn to declutter, organize and maintain your professional environment.
Employees who can manage their time effectively can often get more done in a workday. Time management involves knowing how to prioritize tasks, streamline processes and delegate tasks to others when appropriate. You should be able to estimate the time requirements of your responsibilities and gauge whether you can take on new tasks.
To improve your time management skills, consider investing in scheduling programs that monitor your daily duties and allow you to track how you spend your time at work. You may be able to identify trends in your schedule, such as a noticeable dip in productivity after lunch. Implement strategies to combat this wasted time, such as taking two 30-minute breaks throughout the day instead of a full hour at lunch to help you stay engaged in your tasks.
It’s important to believe in yourself and the work that you do. Peers and managers notice when you take pride in your performance, as this demonstrates a commitment to the company and your ability to be self-motivated. Confidence in an employee can show employers that you can manage major projects and progress within the company.
Having confidence also means trusting your decisions and being able to defend them. In stressful situations, people often turn to team members who appear capable and calm under pressure.
Being able to think positively can benefit a workplace’s mood and outlook. Cheerful, optimistic employees make work more enjoyable for colleagues and improve morale. If a positive mindset is a challenge for you, consider reading books on happiness and positivity or listening to an encouraging podcast on the way to work.
Flexibility and open-mindedness
Employees who are open to new ideas can experience more professional growth and contribute more to an organization’s development. Progress and innovation rely on fresh ways of solving problems and challenging the normal order. Rigidity can hinder improvement, but flexibility can help an employee discover more efficient or more effective strategies for their personal role or the company as a whole. Employers also want employees who are interested in moving forward, can adapt to changes easily, and will embrace new processes, procedures, and technology that benefit the company.
When issues arise in the workplace, the solution may not always be obvious. Employees with critical thinking skills can evaluate a situation, gather relevant information and make deductions based on facts. Thinking critically is an important part of working independently and allowing employers to trust you to make wise decisions. Managers can have confidence in your choices because you take time to research and organize the necessary information rather than reacting hastily.
Having employees with strong communication skills helps an organization function optimally. Communication skills involve presenting information clearly, directly, and logically so that others can understand. At work, you should be able to communicate in writing and when speaking with others, both casually and formally. Communicating effectively can save time and resources because everyone understands what is expected of them and there is a clearly defined strategy in place.
To improve your communication skills, you can practice writing and ask others to review your work for clarity and grammar. You can also take a writing or communication workshop at a local community college or library to learn how to express your thoughts in a well-organized way.
Good communicators must first be good listeners. Listening is a key skill that can help prevent miscommunication and disagreements. When dealing with co-workers, try to listen before speaking. Active listening involves focusing on what the other person is saying rather than formulating your response. You can also rephrase what the other person said and repeat it back to them to make sure you understand and ask questions about anything confusing or vague. Many interpersonal issues may simply result from misunderstandings. Genuine, intent listening can help you avoid these situations.
Emotional intelligence means that you can recognize and identify your feelings and the feelings of others. As you interact with colleagues, emotional intelligence helps keep you in tune with their emotions, allowing you to notice if someone is hurt, frustrated or angry. Proactively addressing these emotions can help reduce conflict and wasted time in the workplace. By knowing your own emotions, you can speak honestly about them and manage them maturely rather than being overcome by them.
Employees with leadership skills are valuable asset to employers. Peers respect and trust strong leaders, making them good candidates for promotions and supervisory roles. Leadership skills include:
- Being reliable
- Communicating effectively
- Providing solutions to problems
- Managing many tasks and timelines at once
- Anticipating needs
- Overseeing employees and projects
Manages value employees they can trust. Having integrity means doing the right thing regardless of the outcome. At work, this might mean:
- Showing up on time
- Honoring your commitments, including deadlines
- Being honest
- Adhering to company and legal standards
- Reporting misconduct
Problem-solving skills help an organization save time and resources by effectively analyzing an issue and resolving it quickly. Managers can rely on employees who can solve problems to work with less oversight. Examples of problem-solving abilities include:
- Troubleshooting the problem to identify the source of the issue
- Deciding what materials information are necessary to solve the problem
- Determining the appropriate steps to take
- Resolving the problem efficiently and cost-effectively
Ability to get along with people
When employees get along with one another, it helps eliminate distractions and conflict in the workplace. An organization can run smoothly and more effectively when team members are personable and display character traits like:
- Celebration of others’ success