5 Vital Skills You Will Need to Thrive in Any Economic Environment
Are you worrying about the security of your current job? Or are you having trouble finding a job which fits your personal preference and circumstances? Either way, you are not alone.
Today’s job market has become a buyer’s market. Newly developed technologies allow traditional companies to either automate the production with computer technology or outsource cheaper labour from the other side of the world. As the result, the job market becomes saturated with people whose skills are no longer needed, including those with a college education or even PhD.
However, there is no need to panic. Because no matter how much automation a company may implement, some skills will never become outdated. If you take your time to acquire those skills, the world will become your oyster.
Here are five skills you must learn to develop if you want to thrive other than survive.
1. Communication skills
No matter how sophisticated a computer may be, it cannot simulate the same level of communication demonstrated by its human counterpart. That is why communication skills are highly valued commodities in the job market.
Communication skills cover a wide range of sub-skills including:
- The ability to clearly express your ideas and thoughts both verbally or in the written form
- The ability to listen actively so you can understand not only the semantic meaning of what has been said, but also the emotion and intention of the speaker.
- Effective usage of body language, gesture and facial expression to persuade, influence and establish rapport.
- Have the ability and confidence to speak in public.
Contrary to many people’s belief which states you either got it or not at all, communication skills can be learnt through practice. And many expert communicators such as Nido Qubein acquired his communication skills through diligent practice.
2. Set goals and track your progress
This is probably the most fundamental skill you will ever need if you intend to get anywhere in life. This is because if you don’t know where you are going, you will never get there. In the book Psycho-cybernetics, the author Maxwell Maltz MD. emphasised the importance of setting goals using an analogy of a torpedo. A torpedo has a servomechanism which controls its direction. Once a target is acquired, it will steer the torpedo toward it, correcting the course along the way.
In the same way, your brain also needs clear targets before it can supply the necessary action steps. Goal setting serves the purpose of supplying the targets.
Once the goals are in place, you also need to check your progress regularly to see if you are on track or off course. The more complicated a goal is, the more regularly you need to monitor your progress. There is ample evidence which demonstrates that people who have the habit of setting goals are far more successful than those who don’t.
3. Information management
In today’s environment where thousands of books and papers are being published every single day, it is certainly a big challenge to keep up to date with what is going on in your industry. However, if you want to remain competitive in your chosen profession, you have to overcome the challenge of handling a large amount of information.
You don’t need to be a super human who reads hundreds of books and absorbs everything in a single day. But you do need to become proficient and methodical in your approach to manage information. Because if you don’t, you will soon find yourself unable to keep up with the rapid change in your industry.
Information management skills involve:
- Ability to evaluate the quality of the information.
- Know how to look for the information needed.
- Be able to draw useful conclusions from the information you are exposed to.
- Have a reliable system to keep and retrieve information.
“Operacy” is a term coined by Edward de Bono who is a leading authority on the subject of teaching thinking as a skill. Just as numeracy is the ability to handle numbers and literacy the ability to handle words, operacy describes your ability to act. Too often people let good ideas pass them by without taking any actions. Procrastination is a disease which robs you creativity and productivity, and ultimately your opportunity to shine on your career path.
People who have high operacy are completely opposite. They are not afraid to make mistakes and they act consistently. As the result, they are highly productive individuals, and are usually well sought after by many organisations.
Motivation is the driving force for making progress. Without sufficient motivation, you will give up when facing the slightest challenge. There are two types of motivation namely extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. Extrinsic motivation comes from external factors such as deadlines, demands or perhaps the threat from the boss. External motivation can also be “temporarily borrowed” such as listening to an inspirational speech delivered by a motivational speaker like Tony Robbins. The problem with this type of motivation is that it rarely lasts.
On the other hand, people who are motivated by intrinsic factors such as passion or a sense of duty or purpose are self-motivators. They know what need to be done and they go ahead and do it. For the very reason, individuals with such quality can always find their places in the job market.
There you have it, the five skills you need to develop to give yourself a competitive edge in your industry.