No matter how far you are in your career, there will always be opportunities to learn. This is especially true when it comes to improving certain skills that only become more important as you move up in business. Skills like empathy, adaptability, and even active listening all require constant practice and refinement to really master them, even for those who already feel like they’ve mastered them well.
Here, ten members of Council for Young Entrepreneurs discuss these skills and more, and share why they think working on the following skills could have a big impact on your career.
No matter who you are or what you do, empathy is one of the most important skills in your professional and personal life. Whether you’re in marketing looking for sales messages that really connect with customers, or you’re in production and you need to collaborate with coworkers, bosses, and subordinates, empathy will help you do it all better. It’s not always easy to practice, but just like anything else, you can work on it and get better every day! – Alex Brown, The Beard Club
Some people are equipped with patience from an early age. For others, it takes a long time to cultivate it, if they ever do. Work can be stressful for many people, especially if you are in a rapidly changing industry. You are not doing yourself and others any favors if you act impatiently in your work, whether it be by deeds or words. Impatience leads to frustration, which leads to negative emotions or interactions in the work environment. From there, morale can easily slip and you get into a vicious circle. Essentially, you’re “turning” and getting aroused all the time, which isn’t healthy. My advice is to take a step back, mentally organize yourself, even if you only have a moment for that, and then step back with a cooler head. – Kristy Knichel, Knichel Logistics
3. Expectation Management
Most people do poorly at expectation management if that’s all they need to keep everyone happy with the outcome. It’s simple: understand what your colleagues, stakeholders, customers, supervisors and leaders see as a successful outcome, align it with reality and feasibility, then communicate and help them see the process unfold so that the end result is as close as possible to what they wanted. if possible. Even if it’s not perfect, they know why and are fine with it. The point here is that just doing a good job isn’t good enough and despite your best efforts, the outcome can still be perceived as bad, so managing expectations becomes much more important in how your work is received and rewarded, regardless of the hierarchy , position or industry. – Devesh Dwivedic, Devesh Dwivedic
Effective communication is the one skill that pays off every day in all your interactions with other people. Whatever challenge you take on – whether it’s starting a new startup, closing that big sale, or getting that next promotion – there’s 100% certainty that people are in your path. They can help you achieve your goal or be a hindrance. Which they are is largely determined by how you make them feel about themselves. That is the art of effective communication. The impact of learning to understand and communicate with the people in your life will be profound for you, but even more so for those around you. Simply put, you will be more effective at providing value to others, which will also provide value to you. – Shane Levinson, Arizona Carpets
“Managing up” is a rather underrated skill compared to listening, communicating and time management. “Managing up” means anticipating what your boss, and even your boss’s boss, needs by being proactive. The proactive steps for managing are: First, reformulate what you consider the task, why you are doing it, and when it is needed. I call this the ‘Three W’s’. Second, inform your boss about how the task is coming up, how much you’ve completed, and whether the deadline will be met or needs to be adjusted. That way, your boss doesn’t have to chase you for updates. Third, when you’re ready, tell your boss what you think are the next three steps you need to take. That is ‘three steps ahead’ thinking and shows your understanding and development. – Beck Bamberger, BAM
Flexibility and adaptability are without a doubt the most important skills that everyone needs to cultivate in their career and life in general. I’m talking about both employees and their employers. You see that we live in fast and unpredictable times. What worked yesterday may not necessarily produce the same results today. You must be willing and ready to change at any time. This will make the biggest difference between failure and success in 2022 and beyond. – Solomon Thimotheus, OneIMS
7. Innovative Thinking
Innovative thinking is a critical skill that even the best employees must continue to work on. It’s easy for employees, even those who excel in their roles, to become familiar with the proven ways they approach tasks. But if a company wants to stay ahead, it must constantly innovate its employees and come up with new, creative ways to solve problems. By adopting a 1% improvement mindset on every job, employees can continue to produce high-quality work and earn themselves the reputation of creative thinkers and problem-solvers, which are the key attributes employers look for in the hiring process. By always looking for ways to innovate, employees can ensure that they remain challenged in their roles and create opportunities that will help them progress in their careers. – Diana Goodwin, Market box
8. Data Analysis
The more you can dig through data and discover unique insights, the more you can solve problems and find meaningful solutions. This allows you to optimize finances, marketing campaigns, performance metrics, and even employee happiness. The right data makes it easier to spot growth and cost control opportunities. – Firas Kittanehu, Amerisleep mattress
9. Emotional Intelligence
Smart employees always do their best to improve their emotional intelligence and awareness. This helps them identify their limitations and know when to ask for help. It also prepares them to handle communication, feedback and conflict in a more mature way. Emotional intelligence and awareness can be achieved by practicing mindfulness and meditating regularly. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
10. Active Listening
Especially in today’s world where there is so much information, it is not difficult to get lost. “Response” has taken precedence over “reaction”, and we quickly form opinions and draw conclusions. One must be acutely aware of how one takes in information and acts upon it. Actively listening to your leaders, customers, colleagues, suppliers and team members is very crucial. What distracts you from a conversation with one type of actor is very different from another. Unless we sharpen our listening skills to determine what’s relevant, we’ll either end up with a lot of information that’s not useful or miss out on crucial parts that could lead us in the wrong direction. It is a continuous learning process and necessary to be relevant in the ever-changing world. – Vinay Indresh, Joy of space
Janice has been with businesskinda for 5 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider businesskinda team, Janice seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.