Underrated work skills that progress your career
Have a CV that shines on paper but somehow feel you are still not reaching your career goals? It could be worth taking a look at some of the following less obvious and often underrated work skills to see how you measure up, writes Excel Recruitment’s Barry Whelan
17 August 2016 | 0
A team worker with a strong work ethic and good communication skills. These top the list on every job specification we see when it comes to core skills. These core skills required by employers, whilst topping the list, are really only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the range of work skills that are invaluable in today’s workplace.
Research by the Mayo Clinic in the US identified lower-rated work skills that resulted in more promotions and career success.
Here are some examples:
- Be positive
Positivity is a real plus. Displaying positivity when working in a pressurised environment or on a difficult assignment is going to be appreciated. Someone who has a positive attitude and engages with other team members and customers in a positive way. This will lead to work success.
If you’re not always as positive as you think you should be, there are ways to improve this. The Mayo Clinic listed habits that can help build this key skill. They include:
- Check yourself for negativity often
- Be open to humour
- Live a healthy lifestyle
- Keep the company of positive people
- Practise positive self-talk
The ability to influence is the ability to motivate people to do whatever you need them to do without forcing them to do it. This is an invaluable skill that will lead to promotion. The best team leaders will be able to motivate their teams organically. True influencers are looked up to, not feared.
To develop this skill, you need to lead by example and inspire the team by being the first into action no matter what the challenge is.
- Concise communication
We all know that many employers highly regard great communication skills, but your ability to communicate concisely and effectively is the real differentiator here. People who can make a point in as few words as possible or as little paper are time-efficient, and they can explain anything quickly.
To develop this skill, practise trimming the ‘fat’ off your communication. This includes unnecessary details, adverbs and adjectives that dress up a sentence but don’t add any real value.
The remaining message should include all of the important details to be conveyed in as few words as possible.
This is particularly invaluable when communicating with senior management, who simply don’t have the time to wade through information.
- Inward networking
When we talk about networking we think in terms of growing a base of contacts within an industry. For instance, if you need to move job, you’ll have contacts in other companies. But getting to know the people within your current organisation, professionally and socially, can really pay off.
Go out of your way to make friends and build a network within your organisation. Having a network of co-workers routing for you will not go unnoticed.
- A high ‘emotional quotient’
Being especially adept at reading and understanding others’ emotions is a highly valued, but vastly underrated, job skill.
We all know the millennial workforce loves leaders with a high EQ, which leads those who possess it to be promoted into managerial positions. That’s because managers with a high EQ will know how to get the most out of their staff in any industry.
Improve this key skill by learning to objectively identify your own emotions and how they affect your behaviour.
You can then apply this knowledge to identify co-workers’ emotions, how to empathise with them and work with them towards agreeable outcomes. This leads to a better working environment and a more productive one.
You may or may not know what mindfulness is already and wonder how this could relate to the workplace. You may think yoga or mindfulness meditation can be used as a way to deal with workplace stress, but as a work skill? Think again. Mindfulness is simply the practice of engaging fully in the moment. Being in the present fully. Studies show that this is a vital job skill that can improve your productivity and decision-making. You can practice mindfulness simply by engaging fully in the moment or the task at hand.