By CHRISTINA HESSION, TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL
As the employment market grows ever more competitive, why not include the following ten assets, that no employee should be without, in your skillset? These are guaranteed to make you stand out in the recruitment pool, will enhance your work environment and make your boss very happy!
1) Critical Thinking: A successful critical thinker gathers information, before interpreting it, analysing it and using logical reasoning to reach conclusions. Critical thinkers make better decisions. To become a better critical thinker you need to be informed, avoid making decisions too early, have an open mind, don’t be afraid to ask questions, weigh opinions against facts, and consider and analyse all options.
2) Listening: The ability to listen is an important leadership skill. By acquiring good listening skills you’ll receive more, and better, information. This will help you to identify and clarify issues, make decisions, resolve conflict and be creative. By listening to your customers, customer satisfaction can be improved, you can enhance your product, generate more sales, increase company productivity and even decrease costs.
3) Team Building: One person alone cannot achieve a company’s objectives. Teams are the most effective method of accomplishing a common goal. Why not challenge yourself to build a team for a work project? Ideally, choose team members who already have the skills and knowledge needed for the chosen task. Consider colleagues who are reliable, hard-working, motivated and who work well with others. What goals will your team be working towards? Agree on the procedures and rules to be followed. Develop a plan. How will the team’s performance be monitored? How will you build the team’s trust?
4) Giving Feedback: Giving feedback on the performance of team members is a crucial skill in business. It is vitally important for team members to know what they are doing well, what they are not doing well and what they need to do to improve. Allowing a team member who is not pulling his/her weight to continue on regardless, can prevent a team from reaching its goals. It can also cause resentment among those team members who are performing well. Likewise, recognizing the efforts of high performing team members can motivate them to continue and in so doing, enhance the performance of the whole team.
5) Planning: Planning is important because it makes us more forward looking, helps us to co-ordinate decisions and it reinforces goals. In this regard, a road-map or plan is a necessity to ensure we can accomplish our goals in the most efficient way. The planning process involves goal setting, establishing strategies, setting a timetable, assigning responsibilities and anticipating obstacles.
6) Organising and Delegating Skills: Once a plan is in place, then organising and delegating skills are important. Careful organisation creates a structure and climate that supports the team, and helps it achieve its goals and objectives. Organisation involves dividing the work into logical assignments, providing the resources, determining the lines of responsibility and authority and establishing a communication structure for co-ordinating efforts and providing feedback. How to delegate effectively? Choose the right person, get their agreement, make expectations clear, establish how and when feedback should be given and give the appropriate authority.
7) Time Management: Meetings, endless paperwork and work crises are time consuming. Unfortunately, they leave scarce time available for what we are expected to do. You can budget your time and accomplish tasks and projects efficiently by adopting some or all of the following: identify short term and long term goals, make a daily to do list, prioritise the most important items on the list, make a schedule, delegate tasks where possible, leave time for unexpected tasks and manage interruptions.
8) Facilitation Skills: A facilitator establishes the structure a team needs to function effectively, ensures that structure is viable and removes obstacles that may impede progress. The good facilitator empowers the team, encouraging it to take control and assume responsibility for proceeding with its projects. He/she does this by assisting the team to clarify tasks, define roles within the team, plan meetings and projects, make decisions, resolve conflicts and identify processes.
9) Motivate Others: The ability to motivate others and get them to perform to the best of their abilities, is an invaluable skill. A good motivator creates and maintains an environment, where team members are likely to become motivated. People are motivated by different things. Find out what motivates individual team members, then develops rewards that match what members value.
10) Be a mentor: The world of business is demanding. A mentor recognises someone who is less experienced, but cultivates his/her potential and helps them succeed. Be a mentor by being a role model, offering advice, encouraging independent thinking, helping the mentee recognise areas that need improvement and offering opportunities for skill development.
By developing these 10 skills you will not only stand out in the recruitment process, you will also be more likely to move quickly up the career ladder. Whatever role you are looking for these skills will be an asset to both you and your employer.
About the Author
Christina Hession is a member of Toastmasters International.
About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization’s membership exceeds 292,000 in more than 14,350 clubs in 122 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. There are over 250 clubs in the UK and Ireland with over 7000 members. To find your local club: www.toastmasters.org Follow. Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.