Five Skills That Are Critical For Success In Today's Workforce

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Have you ever thought about the skills you need to succeed? In the education system, they taught us history and algebra and then lead us to believe that if we got good scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, otherwise known as the SAT, then we’d succeed. But are those the skills we need? To answer this question, it is important to know what a “skill” really is. A skill is the ability to carry out a task well often within a given amount of time, energy, or both. Skills can often be divided into two categories: domain-specific and domain-general. Domain general skills are often called soft skills, and while it is important to develop your domain-specific hard skills, soft skills are just as critical to your success. Soft skills typically determine how you function and interact with others. And while they’re not taught in a classroom or easily measured by testing, they are the important skills that we all must have to be successful in the workplace. Additionally, in the globalized and ever-changing work environment that we have today, there is more incentive on the kinds of soft skills that allow you to keep pace with the future of the standard workplace. So, here are seven skills that are critical for success in today’s ever-changing workplace, not in any specific order.

The first skill to start with is reading and comprehension, and yes while reading is a skill typically taught in school, not everyone can read, and that’s important. Reading in the workplace is more than just looking at words on paper and knowing what they say. Reading comprehension is also the ability to understand a text adequately and to use the information in some way or to comment on it to your supervisor or a coworker. For example, If you were to be given a report to read and talk about with your coworker, not being able to read and understand it would make this task extremely difficult and may result in the supervisor replacing you, demoting you, or even firing you.

The skill I’d like to touch on next is communication, both verbal and written. There’s a good chance that at some point in your career you’ll have to use strong communication skills to sell others on your ideas, products, or services. This can come in many forms, for example, you may have to explain your value when being considered for a promotion or when presenting part of a team project. In the workplace, it is almost certain that you will have to be able to communicate as well as convey strong, persuasive ideas. In the workplace, you will always need to be able to communicate quickly, accurately and effectively. This means whether you are sending professional emails, communicating with a client, or anything in between.

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The next skill is collaboration. While most people sit in a cubical in the office, collaboration is still a major part of the workday. In today’s hyperactive connected world, no one person will be expected to work as an individual. Work projects today have become more intricate, so the ability to work efficiently as a team member on a team has grown in importance. Also, given the global nature of the workplace and its duties, your ability to collaborate, share information and contribute to teams in ways that all the players can benefit from and meet the desired outcomes is vital.

Given the skills that have previously been touched on as critical skills for success, it only makes sense that the skill to follow would be empathy. The ability to see things from your coworker’s perspective and understand their emotions and reactions is a major part of how we collaborate and communicate with one another. In all workplace situations, you must communicate genuinely and authentically with supervisors and coworkers. It is the most important in instances when you disagree with your coworkers on elements of a work project because it helps you to show that you have heard and listened to the things they had to say.

The most important skill is adaptability. Given all the previous skills deemed important and necessary adaptability ties them all together. The workplace is ever-changing and so are the situations inside it, the people, the clients, and the industry trends. As the work landscape shifts, learning how to be adaptable is critical, a solution that worked yesterday may not work tomorrow and it is almost a certainty that you won’t run into the same problems every time. At the core of being adaptable is changing components when the context calls for it and responding appropriately to your workplace. Regardless of the path you choose, building your soft skills will set you apart in the workplace.

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