Career Resources > Valuable Work Skills You Didn't Learn In School

Valuable Work Skills You Didn’t Learn in School

Valuable Work Skills
Our education may have taught us how to handle the academic, knowledge-based areas of our chosen professions. Yet, we have to remember that this same education has also been, and will continue to be, passed on to thousands of students just like us.

What truly differentiates you in the workplace and adds value to you as an employee are the skills that you might not have acquired in school. Here, we explore three essential job skills you can focus on to make yourself practically indispensable to any organisation.

Going above and beyond

Do the job you’re paid to do, and you’ll get paid what you were promised – your salary. Do more than your job demands, and you’ll be rewarded with more. This could mean well-deserved recognition, higher remuneration, or promotions up the corporate ladder.

There are varied ways to perform “more”, including submitting effective money-making (or money-saving) proposals to your company, taking on special projects, and more.

By far the easiest and potentially most rewarding of these is to improve the office environment by positively influencing the people around you .

Forget what you may have heard about having to outperform your colleagues, step on toes, and climb over others to get ahead. Amateurs get ahead by pushing others’ down. The world’s most successful leaders know that the more you give, the more you receive.

Being a team player

It’s widely recognised that in a team, the team leader gets the lion’s share of the glory of success.

For this reason, too many individuals in supporting roles compete to become a team’s de facto leader, believing that enforcing their will and ideologies on the team members enhances their position in the group, leading to greater recognition by bosses.

In reality, such power struggles not only undermine the team’s effectiveness, but also negatively impact their own reputation as team players.

Remember, everyone, at every level of the organisation, is part of a larger team. Good managers lead teams of executives in a small area of operations, and are team players themselves in the larger scope of an organisation’s business.

What happens when a person can only be a team leader and not a team member? That person is only useful half of the time. Individuals who aren’t good team members to begin with seldom have the capabilities to become effective leaders.

It all begins with knowing how best to perform your role in your team, and enhancing your team’s overall results through your contributions.

Building up the people around you

When you enter an organisation, you will bring your own unique set of skills, tools and knowledge to the company.

No matter how new you may be, and how much you have to learn, you will have abilities that will be helpful to your colleagues – be it in professional or personal situations.

Suppose you have a knack for research and you’re able to locate vital project-related information faster than anyone else. Or, you have an in-depth knowledge of specialised software that dramatically reduces the amount of time you spend on a task as compared to your colleagues.

Such skills will be highly sought after, and your newfound colleagues will likely ask you to share your knowledge and skills with them. The simple-minded worker will see this as a tactical advantage, and try to horde these unique skills to himself, refusing to share these “secrets” for fear of losing his “lead”.

The intelligent employer however, takes this opportunity to share knowledge and help teammates grow. As the team becomes more efficient, everyone benefits. The company now has a better, faster, more intelligent team, and the intelligent employee’s colleagues are thankful for the sharing of vital knowledge, and are happy to reciprocate.

Energising your environment

If you’ve visited or been a part of several different offices before, you’ll likely have noticed how an office environment can drastically affect employees’ morale, attitudes toward work, and ultimately, their performance.

Regardless of whether you’re an introvert, or the “life of the party”, you have the capability to infect your surroundings with positive energy .

Take the effort to share a friendly smile with a colleague, share sinful (but still always popular) snacks for mini work breaks, and generally spread positivity to the people around you.

Everyone loves to feel good, especially at work, when a “pick–me–up” is often needed most. Spread mood-lifting, life-giving energy to colleagues and employers will never want to lose you (as long as you’re doing your job well of course).

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