I’ve been asked several times exactly what skills I’m talking about when we discuss the importance of technical skills, communication skills, or any of the other myriad of skills you need to succeed. While technical skills very from job to job, don’t get stuck in a rut by telling yourself that you only need “technical” skills if you’re working in an information technology environment. This simply isn’t true.
When it comes to functionality, there are quite a number of skill sets that can fall under the umbrella of essential job skills. Here’s a short list of essential job skills you should be looking for not only in yourself, but in your teammates and potential new employees as well.
• Communication skills – Alright, I know communication stands alone in a category of its own, but if you can’t communicate effectively (either verbally, in writing, or through listening) you won’t be able to share information about any of the functions necessary for success within your organisation.
• Research skills – The ability to analyze a problem is essential. You must be able to look at not only business systems and software in order to identify problems and solutions, but at your employees and their tasks as well.
• Computer literacy – As a manager you should know a little more about your computer than how to turn it on, check your email, and surf the web. You’ll need at least a small amount of program-specific skill when it comes to client management databases, word processing software, etc. You may not expect new hires to know about your specific database program, but they should know a bit about the more universal programs that are out there.
• Organisational skills – I once went on a job interview where I was handed an empty file folder and a pile of papers. I was told to review the documents and organise them before placing them in the folder. This was a simple test designed to judge my analytical skills (what on earth was I looking at!) and my organisational skills (how to put these strange documents in a useful order). You’ll find that organised employees are more productive and make fewer mistakes than those who lack this skill.
We’ll take a closer look at some more essential job skills in the future. Take some time to really think about these skills, though. Are yours as strong as they could be – and are you paying attention to whether or not your employees or potential new hires have these skills?
Originally published: 3 November, 2008
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