J is for… Judgement

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Good Judgement Skills are part of your decision-making skills and can be defined as:

the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions

Good judgement is important if you are applying for a managerial or executive role (or if you want to show that you can take on / be promoted into this sort of role). From an employers perspective corporate values and considerations will need to be included in your decisions. (See also Decision Making Skills)

How do you show you have good judgement skills?

You will need to be able to demonstrate and display your decision-making and good judgement when making decisions in your day-to-day job. Where possible show that you have gathered in all relevant information before making a judgement and remain unbiased when making that decision. Judgements should be made on facts and objective data not the opinions of those around you and it is important to show you have sound judgement – without being influenced.

Skill Development Plan

1. Learn to make better decisions with practice and training.

When making decisions based on judgement you should:

  • consider all aspects in the complexity of issues
  • consider the known outcomes
  • consider your previous experience and knowledge of the issues
  • learn from your own mistakes (and the mistakes of others)
  • Think “outside the box”

Action Point:  make a written note in your career journal of key learning points of all decisions you make (or observe).

2. Reduce Bias

Bias can influence judgement – to show good judgement you should try to show that you are not influenced and try to eliminate or reduce the impact of bias. You can do this  by being aware of the possibility that you might be biased and identifying the source and taking it out of the equation.

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I is for… Interpersonal Skills

atozofskills“Good Interpersonal Skills” are often listed as a requirement on job descriptions. We have all heard the term – but what exactly are interpersonal skills? Interpersonal skills are essentially good social skills, the phase interpersonal skills incorporates those skills that we need to get on well with others and are predominately, but not limited to, Communication Skills.

Interpersonal Skills include:

Some of which have already been dealt with separately in this series.

Why are these skills important to your employer?

For professional jobs being a good communicator (and having good interpersonal skills) is vital. Your ability to communicate with your peers, your boss, your clients and/or customers gets your job done. You are also a face of the Company. Bad Communication Skills reflect badly on your Employer. So those are two reasons not to employ a bad communicator.

That said you will also need the other skills and qualifications to get the job.

How can you show that you have good Interpersonal Skills?

For most excelling in Interview will show good interpersonal skills, but if you are in a client facing role for example, you may need a few extra statement and example regarding your excellent interpersonal skills to go above and beyond the standard interview skills.

Quite often we take interpersonal skills for granted and assume that an interviewer will just know that your communications skills are outstanding. Don’t forget , nerves can often get the better of you in interview so it is important to have a few key examples that you can draw on if you feel that you are not performing at your best and want to address the point.

Skill Development Plan

In order to develop the skill, you need to first assess the current status of your interpersonal skills and identify what can be improved.

1. be more aware of how you interact with others to help you identify areas that you might need to develop. For Example: do you need to learn to listen more? or do you need to work on your clarity in verbal communication?

2. Once you weaknesses have been identified you should observe others and find a style you want to take on. For example of you get tongue-tied explaining a particular process to a client, observe you colleagues or boss, note down the good points or ask them for tips.

3. Once you have established your weaknesses and how you might improve them all you can do is practice.

H is for… Humour

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The ability to use humour in the workplace is a skill. Yes it is.

Individuals are often put off using humour in the workplace and reserve it for more relaxed circumstances with family and friends.

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Why is this important to your employer?

Humour is not a job requirement. However, the ability to build a rapport with your colleagues, boss, clients and customers will be. Having a sense of humour and engaging in some mild and appropriate banter can help build and cement these relationships. Everyone is human and allowing your personality to show through can remind others of this.

Don’t forget, humour can also be used in interviews to allow your personality to shine through.

Why is this important to you too?

Used properly there are plenty of applications for humour in the workplace:

  • building rapport and relationships with others
  • conflict resolution or negotiation strategy
  • putting people at ease
  • harnessing the power of persuasion
  • stress management / stress relief
  • boosting public speaking and/or presentations
  • boosting sales
  • networking
  • helping with team building
  • creates a positive atmosphere

How can you show you have this skill?

The main way to show this skill is to use it. Use your sense of humour and laugh relax and enjoy other people’s jokes. You can then tell your own (bearing in mind context, timing, place and audience).

Skill Development Plan

It is hard to come up with a plan for this skill as it requires you to a) relax and b) understand humour (and the sense of humour of those around you). Learn by observing others, and try to achieve a natural humour. Try and take the time to get to know people better first so it is not forced and you can tailor your humour more effectively.

G is for… Goal Management

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Goal Management:

A goal or objective is a projected computation of affairs that a person or system plans or intends to achieve.

Being goal-orientated and a good self-starter are key skills that an employer looks for. Employers like employees to be ambitious, driven, in control of their own personal goals and committed to achieving their corporate goals as well.

This is why questions about the companies values, reasons you want to work for the company and long-term goals and aspirations frequently come up in interview. Employers want employees who are self motivated, who will take the initiative and don’t need their hands held while carrying out their job.

Why is it important to employers?

Being goal-oriented and being in charge of your own goal management shows a number of great skills and qualities – many of which are important to employers . Goal-Orientated individuals are hard-working, driven and create a productive atmosphere in the workplace. As a goal-driven individual you will have high performance standards and will motivate others to work to high standards too.

How can you show that you are goal orientated?

At interview you need to show:

  1. Your ability to set and meet goals (regardless of time constraints);
  2. a track record of high performance standards;
  3. that you have a 5 year plan; and
  4. that your 5 year plan include your potential employer and matches their company objectives.

Include examples from previous employment, quote facts and figures where possible and include things like increasing profitability, winning clients, improving efficiency etc. Don’t forget to emphasis how you have achieved your employer’s goals – not just your own.

If you want to develop this skill with a current employer and/or in an existing role  – discuss setting some goals with your employer and continually show that you can meet their goals.

Skill Development Plan

1. Think about your Goals:

  • Write your corporate goals and objectives in your career journal and link them to your own personal goals. E.g. Financial target, personal target, monthly or quarterly figures. Keep a record.
  • Write about your personal goals and how you can incorporate them into your role.
  • Come up with a list of goals and objectives at your next appraisal.

2. Develop a Five Year Plan

3. Write an entry in your Career Journal about what motivates you,

E is for… Enthusiasm

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Enthusiasm: great excitement for or interest in a subject or cause

Does your job excite you? It should. If it doesn’t you should try to make it more exciting. While being enthusiastic is not strictly a skill, employers often employ those who are enthusiastic or passionate about the job or industry.

Why is being enthusiastic important?

If you show a positive attitude and an eagerness to do the required job it can be simple enthusiasm that gets you the job over and above similar candidates.

Why?

Employees who are enthusiastic are shown to provide good customer service, resolve conflicts, work productively with others and stay in the job for a longer period of time. Enthusiasm can drive good team work and make the team as a whole work better together.

But being more enthusiastic about your job also benefits you as an individual:

  • Enthusiasm can lift you up – you will be happier in your job and your enthusiasm will also inspire and lift those around you. Enthusiasm can be contagious.
  • Enthusiasm can drive you to work harder and achieve more – in the longer term enthusiasm can put you in line for a promotion, pay-rise and make you attractive to other potential employers.
  • Enthusiasm can potentially make you more creative, as you strive to make your job, company or projects better through your enthusiasm you can actually come up with ideas to make things better for everyone.

How do you show Enthusiasm?

Enthusiasm at a job interview:

  • body language: smile, sit up straight and make eye contact;
  • engage and discuss things in an upbeat/positive manner;
  • show an interest in the job.

Enthusiasm in the workplace:

  • show up to work on time;
  • show an interest in the job;
  • show an interest to develop the job by listening, learning and trying new things;
  • be proactive in quiet lulls / downtime;
  • actively seek work or support others.

An Enthusiastic Employee is someone who is seen to want to be at work and who is willing to do what it takes to get the job done.

Skill Development Plan

Enthusiasm can be a bit black and white. Something either gets your passion fired up… or it doesn’t. However being enthusiastic is not just about being passionate. It also includes:

  • being grateful
  • being positive
  • being proud of what you achieve
  • being creative
  • being proactive
  • evolving.

Action Point: Create a gratitude list and achievement list as part of your career journal.

D is for… Decision Making

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The thought process of selecting a logical choice from the available options.

There are many different decisions you may have to make: you may have to make a good decision, an effective decision or a difficult decision. It is important to remember that there is not always a right choice but the key is to have a method for reaching a decision and justification for making that decision.

How do you show you can make decisions?

The IMPORTANCE of your decisions will depend on the role you perform, nevertheless it is a useful skill to have as all roles require some form of decision-making. You can be noticed for making decisive and effective decisions (and not have a leg to stand on if you make poor decisions).

So an employer will require all it employees to have effective decision-making skills. Perhaps more importantly it is an essential skill if you are looking to ascend the food chain ( after all the higher up you are the more decisions need to be made).

You can show off your decision-making skills to your current employer in your day-to-day job. However, to show a prospective employer that you can make effective decisions think of examples of where you have:

  • made a difficult decision;
  • made a decision which ‘went wrong’ and explained how you solved it (and importantly what you learned from it);
  • how you cam to a conclusion in a particularly complex decision.

Skill Development Plan

1.  Add a few examples to your career journal of decisions you have made (or start thinking what things you could put in your journal in the future). When you write an entry include details of:

  • the problem (and the context)
  • why you need to make a decision
  • the available options
  • the reasoning/justification
  • the decision/outcome
  • improvements for the future/learning points.

2. Have an established decision-making practice.

A structured decision-making process should include the following steps:

  • reduce complicated decision-making down into simple steps. clearly identify the decision to be made
  • Make a list of the possible solutions/options
  • discuss the problems with others (if appropriate), get any necessary feedback and try to have a full picture by gathering the information together
  • Have a deadline!

When making the decision you should:

  • evaluate the risks
  • decide on the values/items of importance
  • consider the pros and cons.

Action Point: think about your own decision-making process – how are you making your decisions? Do you need to improve?

 

C is for… Confidence

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Confidence:

The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something.

In the workplace there are two aspects to confidence:

  1. to have self-confidence; and
  2. to inspire confidence in others.

An employer will want to know that their clients and customers will have confidence in you and they (as your employer) need to be confident about you too.

The first step in inspiring confidence in others is to be self confident first (without being arrogant).

The second step is to be good at what you do.

How do you show that you are self-confident?

First consider how you appear to others. Consider how you appear in a variety of situations that you find yourself in where confidence is important such as at interviews, at meetings, at networking events etc. Provided that you can at minimum show a confident exterior and give an impression of being confident (even when you are trembling like a leaf inside) you are making good progress.

Your level of confidence can be revealed by your behaviour, your body language, how you speak and what you say. Keep it in check.

Action Point: Look at someone you admire or consider very confident and watch what they do.

Skill Development Plan

Unfortunately there is not a quick fix for building self-confidence (or for inspiring confidence in others). However, a lot of things that you do day-to-day (particularly if you are working on your skill development generally) can help improve your confidence.

Examples include:

  • working on skills that you need to develop
  • setting goals and keeping track of your achievements
  • keeping a list of achievements in your career journal
  • harnessing the power of positive thinking
  • improving your technical skills
  • practising situations where confidence is required.

Action point:  add some confidence building goals to your list and jump in the deep end.