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Even if you’re a highly-skilled worker with a stellar resume or educational background, there will still be areas you need to work on to become a better professional asset. There are some common areas of improvement that most employees can work upon to enhance their current professional standing as well as future prospects. Most of these fall under the wider umbrella of soft skills.
Whether you’re working on your own or as part of a team, you have to meet your deadlines to keep the workflow going smoothly. If you’re bad at time management, you might hold others up as they wait for you to finish your tasks. Over time, causing unnecessary delays can make your coworkers upset with you. Learn to calculate how much time each task takes so you can time yourself better.
This is one area of improvement that can have very positive results for your life, not just your career. When we exude confidence, it’s easier for people to listen to us and do what we ask them to do. Seniors will also consider you for promotions or leadership roles if they feel you have the self-confidence to fulfil the role. Having faith in yourself and your abilities also promotes a more positive and optimistic attitude overall.
When you’re part of a workplace, you have to communicate with various people that you probably wouldn’t come across otherwise. Ensuring your communication is clear and that you listen as much as you talk can help you get along better with your colleagues. Try to keep your words encouraging so you motivate others to do their best. Avoid rude jokes and pranks unless those are part of your office work culture.
A crucial area of improvement for many employees is written communication. We practice our verbal skills from childhood onwards but more formal written communication is something most of us learn at our jobs. Learning to write proposals, memos, reports, etc. is one part of it. Another big part, especially now that many of us are working remotely, is reviewing and editing our emails before hitting ‘Send’.
This is a sensitive subject for many employees, which also makes it an often overlooked area of improvement. Being told we need to do something better or avoid making some mistakes can feel like a personal attack. It’s better to look at feedback as an opportunity to learn about our weaknesses so we can overcome them. If you’re the one giving the feedback, try to keep your language more encouraging and supportive rather than accusatory.
Work life can get pretty stressful from time to time but you can’t let that overwhelm you. If you give in to stress, it can have an adverse impact on your mental and physical health, not to mention on your personal and professional relationships. If your workload is getting too much, ask your boss to delegate some of it to others. If you find yourself about to lose your cool, take five deep breaths before you speak.
Another area of improvement that often gets overlooked by employees who’re hoping for the next big promotion is the ability to delegate. We’re so eager to impress our bosses with our ability to handle work and scared to let someone else outshine us that we end up taking on more than we should. However, the higher you rise in your career, the more you need to know how to delegate so get to work on this skillset as soon as possible.
To execute any task to the best of your ability requires some planning. This is even more important if you’re working with others. Each team member and each team is a part of a bigger machine and if one goes out of whack, the entire process comes to a halt. Organizational skills are an area of improvement that require some practice to master. You have to consistently set deadlines and meet them to truly improve.
Try to be dependable and trustworthy at the workplace not only in terms of work but also as an individual. This helps people to rely on you and include you in their plans. You’re more likely to be promoted if your boss knows you always meet their expectations. Colleagues are more likely to be supportive if you foster trust in the relationships. This seemingly small area of improvement can help your career a lot!
As workplaces become more governed by rules and regulations, it becomes important to know how to behave appropriately. There are some standards of behaviour that are similar across industries, while others are dependent on the office culture of an organization. To work on this area of improvement, keep up with industry standards through research as well as observe how your colleagues behave with each other.
This, too, is an area of improvement that can help your overall life, not just your work life. We generally like people who interact with us politely. Be patient and kind in your communication with colleagues whether they’re senior, junior or the same level as you. Use words like ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ to show you value your coworkers time and effort. Simple things like letting others finish before you speak make you more likable.
This is a tough area of improvement for many employees as there is always an element of competition at the workplace. However, you should share information that is important for others to know. You also have to learn to share many company assets; remember that they belong to the company and aren’t anyone’s personal possessions. If you get a great idea, share it with your senior. You can send an email if you’re worried about them stealing it.
Like politeness, positivity too goes a long way in improving your overall life, and it begins by making you feel much better! Your attitude has an impact on your and others’ morale and efficiency so you want to try to keep things upbeat. Don’t overlook this area of improvement as it promotes productivity when you’re an optimistic problem-solver rather than a gloomy naysayer. A positive attitude will help you overcome your professional challenges with greater ease.
You probably want to climb the corporate ladder and achieve great success and recognition. That's possible when you work on your leadership skills. Leaders are good at setting goals, providing solutions, assessing complicated situations and keeping a steady workflow. Leadership is more a state of mind rather than a skill so if you want to work on this common area of improvement, begin by thinking of yourself as a leader. Then go ahead and be the kind of leader for whom you’d love to work!
We hope this list helps you become the kind of colleague and boss that people and companies hate to lose! If you’re looking for help in getting your career going in the right direction, contact HiCounselor and ask us how we can help you out. You can read our reviews if you’d like some help in making up your mind!