New year. New focus. New energy for 2019. Bring it on!
After a relaxing two week break over the Christmas period, I return to work and do my daily trawl through LinkedIn. I stumble across an article by Paul Petrone, Editor of LinkedIn Learning; The Skills Companies Need Most in 2019 – And How to Learn Them”.
Cool. I like articles that are current and full of suggestions. I start reading the article and I am flabbergasted by the line …there are at least 50,000 professional skills in the world. Eeek… Right now I am struggling to quickly name 5 skills I currently possess!
After taking a deep breath (and realizing I do not need to possess those 50,000 skills), I continue with the article and read about the importance of developing soft skills in the workplace. According to the US based article, 57% of senior leaders today say soft skills are more important than hard skills. Now, this thinking is not new. This message has been loud and clear the whole 9 years I have been working in the careers industry.
I suppose the big change in that time, has been the growth and enhancement of technologies – AI, virtual reality, social and digital media, smart phones etc. Ironically, the need for soft skills is required as we weave these technologies in our lives and those of others.
According to the article, the top soft skills required by companies in 2019 are:
- Time Management
What is most striking about these skills is that they are transferable, fluid, and subject to change.
Whilst I have worked as a career practitioner for the past 9 years, I have worked in different environments, teams and locations. I needed to be adaptable to accommodate these changes, with several decisions being out my control. What helped throughout these changes was keeping myself informed (talking to colleagues, attending meetings, reading communications) and being ‘okay’ with changing things. This also required changing my mindset to one that accepts that it is normal for processes and activities to evolve over time.
I have always prided myself of having good time management (I take after my super efficient dad!) but on the flipside, I have a tendancy to over finesse certain tasks, using more than time than required. Constantly reviewing my priorities helps me to assess how to best use my energy and time.
I love being creative and it truly extends beyond artistic expression. Coming up with new and novel solutions is exciting, especially when I have the confidence to openly share these with others (it is affirming to be validated).
As a person that values collectivism and community, I am supportive of collaborative teams and relationships. I admit, this can be challenging when you are required to work with teams who are polar opposites, or who are physically distant from my office. It is so easy to fall into the silo trap, so to this day, I am developing my ability to strengthen the connections. A big part of it is being authentic and letting others know I am credible and can be trusted (yup, takes time to build!).
Lastly, I see myself as a gentle persuader. I do like building relationships and I tend to rely on my ability to talk in a compelling and thoughtful manner. I naturally shy away from conflict, but over the years I have become more comfortable with presenting issues in a calm considered manner. I don’t think I’ll ever develop the knack for ‘selling’, rather, I hope to build on my ability to assert my ideas with confidence rather than second guessing myself.
Reflecting on these soft skills made me realise how integral they are to many aspects of my working career. I have my good days and bad days with them and they are a continual work in progress. Whatever the case, I cannot ignore them.
Now to work on the other 49,997 skills… tee hee!