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6 professional abilities that are overlooked, and why you should have them

Image Credits: UnsplashImage Credits: Unsplash
  • Cultivating genuine relationships through effective communication and empathy can lead to more meaningful interactions and successful collaborations in the workplace.
  • Embracing continuous learning and being adaptable to change are key for staying relevant and thriving in dynamic professional environments.
  • Developing a long-term vision for one's career, coupled with the resilience to overcome challenges and take calculated risks, is essential for sustained professional growth and achievement.

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving professional world, certain skills often get more spotlight than others. While technical prowess and specific job-related abilities are undeniably important, there are a myriad of other skills that, though less heralded, are crucial for long-term success and personal growth in any career. Mark C. Perna highlights six such skills that are often overlooked but are essential for professional excellence.

1. Human Connection

In an era where digital communication dominates, the simple yet profound ability to connect with others on a human level can be overlooked. Perna emphasizes the importance of human connection, stating, "This is the simple, yet often overlooked ability to create a true rapport with another person." He further explains that every interaction poses silent questions like 'Do you see me?', 'Do you hear me?', and 'Do I matter?' The ability to answer these affirmatively can set the foundation for meaningful relationships and effective communication in the workplace.

2. Teachability

The willingness to learn and adapt is what Perna refers to as 'teachability'. It's about saying "yes" and then figuring out "how". This skill is particularly valuable in today’s dynamic work environments where new technologies and methodologies are continuously introduced. Being teachable allows individuals to grow with their roles and embrace challenges confidently.

3. Resilience and Risk-Taking

Resilience, coupled with a willingness to take calculated risks, is crucial for achieving significant professional milestones. Perna notes, "It’s hard to achieve big wins without some level of risk." This skill involves pushing beyond your comfort zone and embracing the discomfort that comes with uncertainty and potential failure, which are often stepping stones to success.

4. Strategic Adaptability

Being strategically adaptable involves more than just coping with change. It requires actively altering one’s approach to meet evolving circumstances and finding innovative solutions to problems. This skill ensures that professionals can pivot their strategies effectively to align with new business environments or objectives.

5. Empathy

Empathy in the workplace goes beyond understanding others' feelings. It involves putting oneself in another's shoes, which can significantly enhance team collaboration and leadership. Empathy leads to better conflict resolution and more harmonious workplace relationships, fostering a supportive and productive work environment.

6. Long-term Vision

Having a long-term vision is about seeing beyond the day-to-day tasks and understanding where you want your career to go. It involves setting goals that are aligned with personal values and career aspirations, and diligently working towards them. This skill is crucial for career planning and achieving sustained success.

Why These Skills Matter

These skills are not just beneficial for climbing the career ladder; they enrich professional interactions and enhance personal satisfaction in one's career. They help build a resilient, adaptable, and forward-thinking workforce capable of tackling future challenges.

Implementing These Skills in Your Career

To integrate these skills into your professional life, start by self-assessing which areas you need to develop. Engage in training programs, seek feedback from peers and mentors, and apply these skills in real-world scenarios. For instance, practice empathy by actively listening during meetings, or boost your human connection skills by networking more intentionally.

While these skills may be underrated, their impact on professional success is immense. As Mark C. Perna aptly puts it, mastering these skills can "improve our chances of success in the workplace." By fostering these abilities, professionals can not only enhance their career trajectories but also contribute to a more dynamic, innovative, and empathetic workplace. This article draws on the insights provided by Mark C. Perna, emphasizing the importance of often-overlooked professional skills that are crucial for comprehensive career development and success.

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