Building a rewarding career doesn’t just involve professional and academic skill sets, but the ability to cope with life itself
We live in an age where we rely largely on our skills and talent to gain a competitive edge over others. While talent is mostly intrinsic to who we are, our skills can be honed and developed.
We develop basic skills such as speaking, listening, reading, writing, calculating and specialized skills like accounting, coding, marketing, teaching, writing throughout our lives to build a strong career portfolio. Some other skills are even more crucial than these skills as they directly influence our careers and lives, regardless of our professional choices. Yes, we are referring to the all-important life skills.
Having recognized the significance of these life skills, some educational boards/institutes have introduced them in their curriculum. However, majority of the schools are yet to embrace the subject. Both UNESCO and WHO have listed 10 life skills, but they can vary depending on several factors like the person’s age, culture, position, organization, nation, etc. However, from the workplace standpoint, seeking the following ways to improve life skills can enhance your success quotient. Here’s a quick look at what these are and why life skills are important to develop your career.
Emotional intelligence: For being cognizant of our own as well as others’ emotions, we must be in a position to empathize, communicate, and overcome challenges. Adjusting emotions as per the changing situations is the key to win-win outcomes.
Interpersonal skills: We can present our interpersonal skills by being amiable and by respecting individuals in our interactions. Attentively listening to our stakeholders, bonding with them and developing a good rapport can go a long way in ensuring individual and team’s success.
Resilience: Usually, we are conditioned to build our abilities and skills to succeed and to win, while less emphasis is laid on our ability to handle failures. Encountering failures is inevitable. However, perceiving our failures as stepping stones and learning from them can surely help in improvising and growing.
Cross-cultural sensitization: Nowadays, workplaces are diversified, multi-cultured and even multinational. Thus, embracing diversity and being culturally sensitive about colleagues and stakeholders surely helps in the promotion of unity and sense of belongingness in the work environment.
Time management: As every activity of ours in a fast-paced business world is time-bound, our success to a great extent hinges on our ability to manage time efficiently. Striking a work-life balance, dealing with meeting reschedules, managing deadlines, coping with changing priorities, etc. will reflect our time management skills.
Decision-making ability: It takes an analytical mind, information processing ability and a sound judgement to take a confident decision. As one scales up the corporate ladder, this trait becomes gradually more important for their role.
Technical savviness: With technology becoming an indispensable part of our existence, it is imperative that we scale up our technology acumen. Apart from being well-versed with the technology related to our scope work, it is always beneficial to be familiar with some analytical tools as well.
Acceptance of feedback to improve: This forms an integral part of our growth and development journey. We may be inclined to believe that we perform to the best of our ability and potential. However, the feedback from our stakeholders prompts us to get a reality check of our performance and thereby helps us to improvise. In fact, we should be open to constructive criticism as this prevents us from turning complacent, and forces one to think laterally to problem-solve.
Communication: This is an individual’s ability to effectively read, write, speak and listen by assimilating knowledge and presenting it in a structured, cohesive fashion. Taking this skill a step ahead, understanding and demonstrating business communication in the context of organization’s business or scope of work is as important a skill as understanding one’s core skill for the job. People who ace general communication may not necessarily be good with business understanding. This requires additional honing. Presentation skills also play a key role in business scenarios. For sensitive matters, consider what not to speak and write. Equally important is knowing when to use the right communication. For instance, some issues are resolved best by going old-school and picking up the phone for a personal discussion. Having the judgement to understand what communication tool to use depending on the situation means being able to grasp communication as a skill.
There are many ways of developing life skills to improve career prospects. Some of the popular ones are attending workshops, observing great leaders and successful people, reading about them, hiring a life coach, etc. While each learning method has its merits and limitations, it is up to you to weigh the pros and cons to decide the best one for yourself.
We are keen to know your take on life skills to improve your career prospects. Do share your thoughts, experiences and your best practices about mastering your life skill sets. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Has this blog helped you enhance your understanding of life skills? Do let us know of this too!
TCS Talent Acquisition