The five most wanted skills in business
by Lindsay Ann Grubb
n CareerSA 2016, big businesses across South Africa said they valued candidates who had strong communication skills, were detail oriented, independent, positive and effective team players. We look at why these attributes are so important in the workplace and what you can do to improve yours.
If you want to succeed, learn to express yourself clearly. Whether you’re sharing a new idea with your boss, writing up your contribution to a team project, or sending a client an e-mail, make sure your message is easily understood. Be professional, polite, tactful, diplomatic, and sensitive to ethnic and gender issues in all your communications. Be consistent and keep colleagues regularly updated on the progress of joint tasks.
Ask if you’re not sure how to do something, don’t guess and then pay attention to the response. When someone is talking to you, put away your phone and listen to understand, not simply to reply.
Avoid jargon if possible. Remember it is possible that not everyone reading your e-mail or report will understand technical language. When you receive feedback, listen, assess it unemotionally, and learn from it.
Most wanted skills:
- Detail oriented
Businesses prefer detail-oriented employees because they have strong analytical and problem-solving abilities, and contribute to maintaining the company’s efficiency.
Employees who repeatedly make mistakes can cost a company time and money. It can also be very damaging to your reputation. Colleagues will learn that they can’t depend on the standard of your work. If you’re tired, take a break and rest, and carry on later with fresh eyes.
Never be embarrassed to ask someone to review your work and make sure you take their feedback seriously. Don’t leave projects to the last minute to complete.
Keep colleagues regularly updated on the progress of joint tasks.
Always re-read your e-mails before hitting send and always make sure that you have not hit “reply all’ when your intention is to send the message to one person only. A great way to become more detail oriented is to get curious and question everything around you. For example, ask yourself how a process could be done more efficiently, or what would happen if you did something differently.
Be someone who can be trusted to arrive on time for work every day. Enthusiastically approach each task and do so without needing to be constantly chased. Take responsibility for your actions.
You are more likely to get hired and promoted if your promise to perform is backed up by your actions. Get organised, sync your calendar across all your devices. Use a year-planner to track deadlines.Make notes rather than relying on your memory alone.
Deliver what you said you would, every time, and on time, so people don’t have to ask. If there is going to be a delay, let people know in advance, not on the day of your deadline.
Become more self-aware by timing how long it takes you to do a particular task. Acknowledge the things you do, and don’t know, and then upskill in the areas where you might be lacking.
Learn to self-regulate – if there isn’t a deadline for a task, set one for yourself. If you find it difficult to be motivated without external factors, promise yourself a small reward for achieving a particular goal.
You will have good and bad days at work, how you respond to them is entirely up to you. You will have to complete tasks you don’t particularly like, and at times, colleagues or clients may be rude, and their demands may seem unreasonable.
Stay positive by managing your stress levels, and approach the task with a level head. Be an enthusiastic member of the team who is willing to dig deep to get the job done, who employs ethical decision-making, and shows integrity in all that they do.
Help others when you’ve completed your own tasks. Show appreciation when someone helps you and recognise the achievements of your colleagues. Your positive attitude will earn you the respect of your colleagues and they will want to work alongside you. Show that you’re adept at finding solutions to challenges that might get others down, and your superiors will keep their eye on you, and mark you for promotion.
Effectiveness is about successfully producing and delivering results. If you want to be an effective employee, you need to be able to meet your deadlines, and usually you need to be able to do so under pressure. Plan well, and create daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual project goals. Learning to manage your time is key.
This will enable you to work on multiple projects at the same time and be flexible enough to make changes to your plans if project goals shift. You will need to be able to push through when faced with a challenge.
Finding an alternative solution may call for some creativity on your part. Prioritise your various tasks and focus your time on the most urgent, and on those that will achieve the greatest benefit for the company. Only make promises that you can keep and take the initiative whenever you can.
All of these traits work together. If you have a positive attitude, you will take pride in your work, while paying close attention to detail. As an independent person, you will be adept at managing yourself well, which will make you an effective and communicative member of the team.