In her book, HER Corner Office: A guide to help women find a place and a voice in corporate America, author Trudy Bourgeois offers time-tested career development advice to women at any stage in their career. Below are excerpts from the book, which highlights skill sets that every employer looks for when hiring:
What will it take to get to the top? It will take competency, skill and passion. Competencies and skills are developed through experience. Passion, on the other hand, is what is inside of you and drives your interest in developing the skills needed to climb the ladder. Passion can take you from a point of interest to a point of expertise.
Employers need people who have a well-balanced mixture of experiences and skills. There are hundreds of different skills that should be taken into consideration. There are, however, some common skills that organizations seek in those employees whom they think are capable of getting to the top. The list includes:
Leadership — the ability to persuade and influence others, motivating them to perform.
Interpersonal Skills — the ability to build authentic relationships.
Flexibility/Adaptability — the ability to proactively manage change.
Collaborative Team Development — the ability to blend multiple disciplines and experience.
Oral and Written Communication Skills — with a focus on listening skills.
Strategic Planning — the ability to create a vision and a road map to get there.
Creative Problem Solving — the ability to draw on innovative and creative skills to produce new outcomes.
Culture Positioning — the ability to create an environment where people from all backgrounds, genders and ethnicities can thrive and add value.
These are the skills that are essential to succeed in today’s business environment. Savvy organizations recognize and value the education and training investments made in their people.
Organizations are counting on you to put your skills into action. They are betting on the outcome that you will be able to use your skills to help others solve problems that will produce results.
As an HR business partner, I heartily agree with the author. Continuous learning and skill development is a necessity for any developing leader. However, in this era of business globalism, I would suggest taking the Intercultural Diversity Inventory to see where you are on the spectrum from denying to adapting to the changes that a culturally diverse workplace brings. If you desire to work with communities of color, I recommend learning about trauma, the different types of trauma, and how to identify trauma-informed organizations.
Even though doing more with fewer resources at the expense of training and development is the mantra of the day, do not do this. Commit to lifelong learning and make learning a best practice for life!
Tammy McIntyre is owner of McIntyre Employment Service, an agency providing individuals and small businesses with career development services. She welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.