In today’s fast-paced and distributed working world, effective leadership and strategic decision-making have become more important needs for businesses. So it should come as no surprise that according to recent research by the Corporate Executive Board, 10 new talents and skills have been found to be defining traits amongst today’s most successful people.
Here are the traits that equip executives with the necessary flexibility and resourcefulness to deal with change, adapt to highly unpredictable environments, and constantly succeed in the face of ongoing uncertainty:
- Ability to prioritize
- Works well in teams
- Organizational awareness
- Effective problem solving
- Ability to influence
- Effective decision making
- Learning agility
- Technical savvy
Just one problem: The organization notes that this particular skill set is “scarce” and that most individuals “lack the ideal mix of skills and competencies to achieve employers’ desired outcome.” This news may hardly be reassuring for you or your HR department. Happily, professionals looking to more meaningfully contribute to their organization can cultivate these skills, and businesses ingrain them more frequently, by keeping the following seven traits in mind when approaching professional development.
1. Communication skills
The umbrella term “communication skills” includes a trifecta of abilities, including the capacity to listen, write and speak. This is one of the top qualities employers look for in modern-day hires; it’s essential for receiving, interpreting and giving direction. Likewise, a sense of social intelligence is also vital: Professionals need to be able to understand where peers, colleagues and strategic partners are coming from, not just the words they’re saying, so they can better empathize and act on this information.
Chances are you or your colleagues will be simultaneously involved in several projects, tasks or initiatives. Therefore, the ability to juggle all with aplomb is a highly-valued skill. Effective multi-tasking is achieved when work is completed both efficiently and correctly, with a minimum of stress. Tomorrow’s workers must be well-equipped to juggle multiple tasks.
Enthusiasm is a valuable asset in professionals, as it shows an individual passionate about the tasks he or she is performing for the organization. It goes hand in hand with positivity, and both can make a noticeable difference in what’s often a stressed, strained and/or hectic work environment. Plus, according to Sigal Barsade, professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, positivity is not only contagious, but also has an impact on overall job performance, decision-making, creativity and turnover. A winning attitude can be invaluable and contagious.
Problem solving is a skill that sits somewhere at the nexus of creativity, level-headedness and logic. Those who exhibit it demonstrate a proven ability to objectively interpret incoming signals, and act both thoughtfully and with grace when a solution is needed. Workers with solid problem-solving skills aren’t just strategic thinkers; they should be able to keep a cool head when a situation arises and stay on task without the need for micro-management.
While not a single defining trait, solid organizational skills can be an asset to any worker. They indicate an individual is self-disciplined enough to gather the necessary information and data to keep his or her tasks both well-managed and on schedule — important traits for any leader. Powerful organizational skills alone do not great managers make, but they do help drive job candidates to be more professional, efficient and productive.
Integrity means being true and honest to oneself and others. It shows that someone knows his or her strengths and weaknesses, isn’t afraid to make mistakes or accept responsibility for doing so, and possesses a high degree of loyalty. Someone with strong integrity can be trusted to show respect, take responsibility and stand by the old adage “honesty is the best policy” — all a boon to any enterprise.
Chances are you’ll need to cooperate and collaborate seamlessly with others. Therefore, it pays to be warm, friendly, easygoing and genuine — a solid team player can help bolster any winning lineup. With teamwork key to business success, be ready and willing to become a meaningful part of your organization’s roster of all-star performers. The more enthusiastic you are about your work, and committed to bringing out the best in others, the more effective you’ll be.