By Thom Dennis, CEO of culture and leadership specialists, Serenity in Leadership
The skills that are in high demand are those specifically aligned to target new challenges and developments arising within our society, such as technological advancements and the introduction of AI, as well as remote working and the importance of good work culture. Given the current uncertainty in which we are living, employees need to be especially aware of what skills are most highly valued not least because recruiters are increasingly looking for skills over experience. So what are the ten most prized skills in the workplace right now?
1. AI and data analysis skills – We know that AI is booming and set to take over large swaths of business so it goes without saying expertise in the area will be snapped up. Data analysis skills allow individuals to uncover insights, patterns, and trends that can go on to inform decision-making, drive innovation and growth within organisations and improve performance. And of course, AI will eliminate some aspects of data analysis as it develops, so keeping up to date with this science will be highly valued.
2. Self-Awareness – This will be the most important skill for leaders. Understanding your (and the organisation’s) strengths and weaknesses, needs, purpose and aspirations means breaking through glass ceilings and limitations, successfully adapting your behaviour and mindset to overcome problems and building resilience. Self-awareness also leads to improved relationships with others and better decision-making and communication.
3. Critical Thinking – This innate but also learned ability helps us evaluate, be logical, make good decisions, see issues before they arise, present evidence well, not rely on other’s opinions, question the status quo, be more independent, improve flexibility and express our ideas clearly. What’s not to like?
4. Collaboration – Being able to collaborate well in the workplace goes hand in hand with overcoming challenges, welcoming different perspectives and ideas, and producing innovative and creative solutions; all of which benefit organisations greatly. With workplace dynamics changing at pace following the growth of remote and hybrid working, collaboration and good communication are increasingly important to stay competitive and for healthy work culture.
5. Cultural intelligence (CQ) – CQ comprises a host of treasured skills such as communication, collaboration, and relationship building across cultures which gives organisations a competitive edge in increasingly global business opportunities and international partnerships. Cultural intelligence encourages individuals to embrace other perspectives and tap into a broader range of insights, ideas, and solutions which in turn promotes creativity and diversity. Diverse teams are thought to make better decisions nearly 90% of the time.
6. Emotional intelligence (EQ) – EQ demonstrates traits such as purpose and empathy as well as compassion and care, for others but also importantly for the self. If employees have these traits, their communication is likely to be good, as those individuals can empathise and listen to others, resolve conflicts and build relationships, work well with others, understand teamwork dynamics, welcome diverse perspectives, and promote cooperation which all facilitate a healthy and collaborative work culture. With nearly one million people suffering from work-related stress, depression, or anxiety having workplaces that are supportive and colleagues who are compassionate and able to read other’s emotions is of huge benefit. Embracing feminine qualities that enhance emotional expression such as empathy, vulnerability and listening, while rejecting unhealthy emotional suppression and dysfunctional emotions is key.
7. Authenticity– Individuals who are more authentic can build trust and credibility which fosters an atmosphere of reliability and transparency in the workplace. This benefits communication, allowing others to express their ideas clearly and effectively, without any hidden agendas, which in turn promotes collaboration and understanding. This can allow connections to form, the creation of a healthy workplace culture and increased employee satisfaction and engagement. Authenticity also means colleagues bring their whole selves to work, without hiding who they are, but the work culture needs to offer that psychological safety first.
8. Problem-solving – Being able to solve problems critically, logically and creatively can increase productivity, innovation, safety and efficiency at work with numerous long-term benefits. Problem-solving skills are also extremely useful in conflict resolution. With 20% of employers reporting that conflicts at work are a common occurrence, having this skill is beneficial to any team.
9. Integrity– Integrity is the foundation of trust, which supports strong relationships developing in the workplace along with credibility and reliability. Individuals with integrity also consistently show professionalism, can align with business and personal purpose, demonstrate solid ethical conduct, and equally show and earn respect.
10. Active Listening– Trust and communication are enhanced through active listening when individuals take the time to focus and hear what others are really saying. Giving someone your full presence is the most respectful gift possible. The time, opportunity and attention leads to fewer misunderstandings and employees experiencing less conflict.