What skills can make you unfireable?
A question which if answered could hold the key to long-term career success , there are some central universal truths which all employers will agree are guaranteed to make you stand out from the crowd.
So what are these essential office mantras? To take the guesswork out, we asked career coach Sue Powell for her pick of the 10 most valued workplace qualities and how to master them. From how to improve your interpersonal and communications skills to the teamwork and employability skills that matter, let this act as your go-to map for navigating your way up the career ladder and becoming the employee your employer will never want to be without.
Stand out employees...
1. Deliver what they promise
This means being reliable, someone who can be counted on. You know that they’ll go the extra mile and will have tried everything they can to deliver. They are tenacious and will stick at things even when they are tough.
It means getting the job done and at those times when they can’t, it means they communicate well in advance to those they’re working with. They put ‘delivering the job today,’ ahead of their ‘promotion tomorrow.’
2. Have a ‘can-do’ approach
They view the world with positivity and optimism. When they find themselves thinking of something as difficult or impossible, they reframe it as a challenge to be overcome, a new way to test themselves, their resourcefulness and creativity. They ask ‘how’ might we do this rather than ‘can’ we do this?
3. Are great communicators
They listen to others ideas, worries and concerns. You know they are listening because when they speak with you, you have their full attention, even just for a few minutes. They reflect back your words or summarise what you’ve said. Either way you know they listened…and this helps to build trust. They are succinct and clear – they say what they mean and mean what they say.
4. Have integrity
They are discreet and hold confidences. They don’t get involved in passing or generating office gossip. They recognise the importance of creating a safe and supportive work environment for everyone and make sure to play their part in that.
They are honest and straightforward.
5. Act as ambassadors
They represent the team well by building strong networks in and out of the team or department in which they work. They are respectful and positive to people no matter what level or position. They make an effort to speak to or involve people in others departments or specialist areas and to be curious about their perspectives on the work in hand.
They look for opportunities to add more value to the team or department. They help others out and they raise their hand to take more responsibility even when the task may not be particularly interesting. They know someone has to step up to the job, so they do. Their emphasis on delivery and their integrity means that they also need to balance their volunteering to make sure they don’t overcommit.
7. Are adaptable
They are flexible when priorities have to change. They don’t complain or grumble. Instead they try to understand the context for the change and find its importance to their personal values and goals. They are open to new ideas and the concept that the best ideas may come from collaboration with others.
8. Work as team players
They work collaboratively with others to get the job done, using their positive relationships and can-do attitude. They put the team’s success ahead of personal gain. They are open and share information that will help the team to achieve the results. They acknowledge others’ contributions, using language such as ‘yes, what I like about that is…and we could also….’
They are open to receive and provide well-intended feedback.
9. Are learners
They actively seek ways of doing things better or developing themselves professionally. They think about what they do. This doesn’t mean they always want to progress to be the MD or CEO but it does mean they care about their own development and their performance no matter what they do. They are open to receiving well-intended feedback as a way of learning about themselves and their performance. They ask for help and advice when they need it.
10. Are resilient
They don’t let tough times get them down for too long. They maintain their calm under pressure. They recover and bounce-back by not taking things too personally. Instead they may look for a more positive perspective, look for the learning opportunity or remind themselves that we’re all human and sometimes we forget or fail.
Oh, and qualities that are nice to have….
They are able to laugh (including at themselves).
They don’t always have to be the life and soul of the party but they can have fun when appropriate. They hold the achievement of results with rigour, yet they can enjoy a sense of humour and light-heartedness with others too and know how to balance the two.