Having the technical skills and knowledge to successfully execute your responsibilities is only part of being the best you can be within your organization. In addition, you also need to have essential soft skills that will allow you to effectively work with others and help you stand out in 2020.
No matter what your position, organization, or industry, you work with people and these people-skills are the most valuable when it comes to being recognized by your boss’s boss.
We have listed 10 soft skills that employers are looking for in 2020 so you can stay ahead.
Gen Y will change jobs on average 9 times during their careers. According to a recent Millennial Branding report, 45% of Millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay. An openness to change is standard for the 21st-century workforce and there’s no going back.
- Be open to alternative solutions when your first suggestion does not go over well or succeed
- Be willing to take on new roles, even when they are a stretch for your skills
2. A Positive Attitude
A positive attitude breeds productivity and resilience. Optimists handle stress better than pessimists (Michael F. Scheier, a psychologist at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh). Underpin it with a strong work ethic, and goals suddenly seem that much easier.
- Take time to clarify what your personal goals are – care for your self
- Outline clear group goals – care for others
- Communicate honestly and value transparency
Modern communication is complicated. Verbal, nonverbal, body language, music, art, emails, SMS, posts…no wonder we don’t always get it right.
“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” — Plato
- Brush up on your body language – 70% of communication is non-verbal
- Use “Active Listening” – stay focused on the present and reflect back to check you really have been listening rather than focusing on your reply
4. Emotional Intelligence
“The ability to recognize and manage our feelings so that they are expressed appropriately” – easier said than done! We can choose our friends but not our family nor our work colleagues. That’s life. Buy some wood, build a bridge and get over it.
When you get to the other side, work on the big 4:
- Self-awareness: The ability to recognize our own feelings and motivations
- Self-management: The ability to appropriately express (or not express) feelings
- Social awareness: Our ability to recognize the feelings and needs of others, and the norms of a given situation
- Relationship management: Our ability to relate effectively to others
“The most talented, thought-provoking, game-changing people are never normal.” — Richard Branson
Businesses are becoming increasingly competitive, making creativity crucial in order to open doors to new opportunities and solve problems. Although some people are naturally more creative, it is a skill that can be taught and learned. Once you are able to think outside the box the possibilities are endless.
6. Problem Solving
Whatever the industry or role, problem-solving is part of the job. Whether you use euphemisms such as “challenge” or “exciting opportunity”, problems are part of growth as sure as night and day.
- Look out for problems
- Understand them
- Create networks to help find solutions.
Not just what you wear. Not just what you say. Professionalism is the ability to conduct yourself with responsibility, integrity, accountability, and excellence. Civility in the workplace is a simple bookmark.
The single greatest thing you can do for your own success is learning to show self-confidence. Self-confidence is not arrogance; it is believing that you know what to do and how to do it and that you can handle whatever comes your way.
- Value finding out what is right more than you value being right
- Listen more than you speak and share the spotlight with others
- Ask for help when you need it
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” — Michael Jordan
Assigning a team member work that is completely outside his or her skill set is a recipe for failure. On the other hand, leveraging all the diverse capabilities, skills, and talents on your team helps you achieve the maximum results.
- Know your own skills and strengths
- Know the skills and strengths of those around you
10. Time Management
We all know about time management and the usual response is “I don’t have time to apply time management.” 10-12 minutes invested in planning your day will save at least 2 hours of wasted time and effort throughout the day (Eat the Frog — by Brian Tracy).
This is a skill you need to get to grips with and you can then comfort yourself with this fact:
Taking 5 minutes per day, 5 days per week to improve one’s job will create 1,200 little improvements to a job over a 5 year period
These 10 skills that will help you skyrocket your career and get ahead in 2020. Make sure you power up your soft skills as well as your technical skills and build strong, cohesive networks to support you.