We’ve all heard about tactics and strategies that we need to grow and reach the pinnacle of our careers.
You have been told to work hard, show up, and contribute so your boss can know your impact and reward you with your next promotion.
They have told you that competence is all you need to get ahead, so you must go deep and become a domain expert in your field and consequentially become irreplaceable at work.
Okay, here is the truth, no one is indispensable at work. If you leave your company tomorrow, they may miss you for a while, but ultimately, someone else will come along, and they may even do a better job than you. Accept that, and be happy.
You’ve heard that it is not only about what you know but who you know and who knows you, so you must work to impress and let your boss’s boss understand your contribution to the team.
They are all right!!!
You must do these things and more to get ahead in your career. But how can you effectively do this? Apart from having the hard skills required to do your job, you must also master these seven essential soft skills to transform your career and be someone everyone wants to have on their team.
Without communication, nothing happens, and nothing gets done. Whether you are the boss giving directives or the subordinates executing those instructions, communication has to happen before anything else follows. To get ahead, you must master the art of communication, both written and spoken.
What you need to do: Whenever you are sending an email, ensure your email clearly conveys the following:
- What you expect from the recipient.
- When you want it
- Who must act
- The business impact of actions/inactions.
Being respectful and cordial when writing an email is always a good idea.
A curious mind is a mind that continuously learns and improves so it can continue to grow and attract more opportunities. You’ve heard about the “Quiet-Quitting” phenomenon we recently experienced at the workplace. This happened because people are no longer in tune with what they do for a living. This occurs when people are no longer curious about what they must do to stand out and contribute their best effort to make their organization successful. When curiosity dies, passion for work is gone as well; what is left is an unmotivated worker doing the bare minimum so they can get by and get paid at the end of the month.
The combination of competence and confidence makes you unstoppable in the workplace. Everyone wants to work with a confident and competent worker who knows what he is doing and is always willing to contribute his knowledge for the organization’s success. Sometimes, a team will encounter difficult challenges when no one is sure of the best path forward; having a confident person on the team will go a long way to boost people’s morale and come up with solutions to the problem.
Have you ever been on a team where there is someone that never contributes anything? They don’t ask questions, they don’t share their opinion, and they don’t offer any form of help. That is someone that has disengaged from using their mental capacity at work. They lack critical thinking. To get ahead, you must intentionally and regularly use your mental strength to contribute positively to solving organizational challenges. You must be an outside-the-box thinker.
How do you handle those difficult days at work? What would you do if you had to work extra hours for a long stretch of days so you could produce results for your organization? What will be your reaction when your work-life balance is tilted towards work-work alone? You may think people do not see stress, but the way you talk, react, and respond shows others when you are stressed.
What to do: When you feel stressed, taking breaks and focusing on the end goal is always a good idea to help get you through those stressful days.
Occasionally, you may be called upon to make tough calls. Are you comfortable making difficult decisions? Are you the type that wants to get all information before making a decision, or are you comfortable moving forward with the information you have before you? There are many times we won’t be able to have 100% information that we need, yet, we need to move forward.
What to do: Perform your risk assessment and analysis and move forward with the information you have.
No man is an island. Working well with people is an essential skill required to get ahead. Having the right people in the right place can open the door to your next opportunity. It is a great idea to make sure you are connected with and learning from those ahead of you in your career line. So do all you can to maintain healthy relationships with your coworkers.
Developing these soft skills can enhance your professional reputation, increase your job opportunities, and ultimately transform your career.