- Accepting constructive feedback. To be taken seriously at work, you absolutely must be able to have someone criticize your work or offer you advice without taking it personally. How they deliver the feedback makes a difference, but you don’t have any control over that. You can only control how you respond and what it means to you. If this is an area of weakness for you, start working on this. Think about times when you’ve given someone else feedback. Were you doing it to be mean? Did you insult them? No, you were just trying to help and offer a different perspective. Put yourself in the other situation of the person delivering the feedback and remember that the intention is good, therefore, there’s nothing to be offended by.
- Speaking in front of people. Even if your job doesn’t require actual public speaking, you still need to master this. Communication is a foundational skill for every profession. You need to be able to confidently and effectively communicate ideas, strategies, outcomes, and so on. Much of the first impression that people have of you comes from your communication skills and how you represent yourself. Speaking in front of people includes simple things such as talking in a staff meeting, project meetings, talking to clients, customers, vendors and so on. People are everywhere! Start identifying the reasons why you might be hesitant to talk in front of people whether it’s big crowds or small groups.
- Making decisions independently. Whether or not you are in a leadership role, your employer will appreciate you having the discretion to be able to make decisions appropriately and use discretion, even if they’re small decisions. This saves them from micromanaging you. If they do micromanage you anyway, that’s nearly always a reflection on them and not you. The more decisions you can make yourself on a daily basis, the easier it’s going to make your bosses job and the more you’ll grow professionally.
- Resolving conflict. If you are one of those classic conflict avoiders (and you know who you are!) this needs to be worked on. Conflict is natural and can be a good thing. There is a natural tendency to avoid anything that feels bad but yet some of us are better than others at handling it than others. Not everyone avoids it deliberately. Why is that? Ask yourself why it makes you so uncomfortable. What are you afraid of? What would make you more confident with it? Are you afraid of being wrong? Are you worried about damaging your relationship with someone or having it be awkward afterwards? But those outcomes are not facts or truths by any stretch. People work through conflict all the time and move past it without it being uncomfortable. We make it uncomfortable by our perspective. In fact, sometimes it makes it better between them. Expand your thinking here and see conflict as necessary for progress and growth.
- Know your strengths. I’ve saved the most important one for last. I supposed this isn’t a skill per se, but it’s something you need to know how to do. You must know your own strengths and weaknesses. If you don’t know and believe in your own value, it will affect your career and your life. It will stall your progress. It will keep you from taking risks. Applying for promotions. Being chosen for the job, and so on. Knowing yourself, and particularly what you offer to the world, is the foundation for success. I work with so many clients who have low self-confidence and it stems from this feeling of not being good enough. Or, a feeling of not knowing themselves well enough. If you don’t have clarity on who you are, what you do well, and you won’t be able to identify your best career and get the most satisfaction out of it.
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