12 Skills Every Professional Needs to Succeed in the Modern Workplace
Following is Part II of our series on skills needed
to succeed in the modern workplace.
PART II: Skills 7 through 12
The modern workplace isn’t a single physical place in most organizations. The modern workplace is a realm, a culture. It often comprises people working from multiple locations in different cities, states, time zones, and even countries. Some may be full-time employees working from a traditional office. Others are contractors working at a different employer. Since COVID-19, more and more people are working from home. Co-workers can spend years with each other without physically meeting, only communicating electronically.
The chaos of the modern workplace has added to the stress of working under the pressure to produce results in a world of uncertainty. Some professionals struggle to grow and move up in the modern workplace. The ones that succeed typically exhibit the following skills:
7. Project Management The critical tasks of the modern workplace do not involve day-to-day, repetitive work. The most important work involves comprehensive projects involving co- workers from multiple departments. These projects may include product launches, new marketing initiatives, or software deployment. A successful professional can manage these types of projects. This includes processing skills in team leadership, time management, budgeting, communication, and giving and receiving feedback.
8. Focus The modern workplace is distracting. Meetings, emails, the latest quarterly reports, small talk in the next cubicle. There are also non-work-related distractions like social media, following the latest pandemic news and, for remote workers, all the distractions of home. Professionals who can focus on specific tasks for sustained periods perform better and are more productive. Those who can’t are generally less creative and make poor decisions. Like many skills, focus takes practice and discipline. Schedule short breaks and avoid checking email when you know you need to focus on a task.
9. Software Comprehension The modern workplace is run by software: project and content management, customer management, business intelligence, HR management, marketing management, asset and risk management, accounting and governance. Knowing how to use a variety of software is a necessity for many companies. The more proficient you are, the more productive and efficient you can perform your job. You may not know how to use every type and brand of software used by an organization, but the more exposure and practice you have on various software applications, the easier it is for you to learn new ones.
10. Intrinsic Motivation The modern workplace doesn’t always provide tangible rewards for a job well done. The successful professional isn’t motivated by external factors. It’s their intrinsic motivation that produces a high level performance. Intrinsic motivation is doing a job because of the positive feelings it provides. It may be pride in the end result. It could also be the satisfaction in helping others or the enjoyment of the work itself. Professionals who tap into their intrinsic motivation perform better and add value to their organization. In doing so, they eventually receive the extrinsic rewards (raises, bonuses, promotions) that others don’t receive.
11. Problem-solving When it comes to problem-solving, the modern workplace employs two types of workers. The first group are people who complain about workplace problems. They point them out, complain to anybody who will listen, and use them as an excuse for producing lackluster work. Every workplace has problems. It’s what happens when you bring many people with different skills, attitudes, tasks, and motivations into a complex environment of roles, systems, and hierarchies. And guess what? The modern workplace in the post-pandemic world has and will continue to create opportunities to use problem-solving skills.
12. Financial Preparedness If there’s one thing all professionals should understand, it’s this: A pay check is never guaranteed (unless you have a guaranteed contract, which you probably don’t). Even if you exhibit all of the previously mentioned skills, you can find yourself without work at any moment. Layoffs happen. To prepare for this possibility, professionals should build and maintain an emergency fund. This is money set aside to help you through unexpected events that can hurt you financially. Having an emergency fund can improve your financial security and minimize the stress of a job loss.
Your career can also be derailed by an accident or injury that limits your ability to work. Therefore, your financial preparedness should include long term disability insurance. This type of insurance covers the potential loss of income caused by injury or illness. If you are unable to work because of a covered disability, the policy will replace part of your income. You will receive these benefits for as long as you’re disabled or up to a maximum period of time spelled out in the policy.
Source: Article by Jack Wolstenholm, Director of Content at Breeze, a digital-first insurance company that offers simple, affordable income protection for the modern workforce; published by SkillsYouNeed.com.