Monthly Archives: May 2015

Key Professional Development Skills

It is often said that every person has a choice between adapting themselves to the world and adapting the world that surrounds them to themselves. While the latter is often the characteristic of very stubborn and somewhat difficult people, the former is the obviously the way to, even though it can sometimes present obstacles that are difficult to overcome.

Nevertheless, it is predominantly the better option and it is based on improving yourself and making yourself more versatile for the purpose of “landing on your feet” when thrown into different problems and tricky situations.

Ask yourself the question: How can you get the very best from yourself and others? The answer is very simple – you do that by developing your personal skills, whatever they may be. So, which skills specifically should you concentrate on developing? There are 6 of them:

1. To develop a definite goal focus;
2. To communicate clearly, persuasively and confidently;
3. To intelligently organize people, and effectively prioritize work;
4. To confidently manage conflict and handle even your most difficult people;
5. To self-motivate with a positive mental attitude and to easily handle your stress;
6. To inspire others and create a positive and productive atmosphere.

Improve Your Self-Awareness With A Few Exercises

Knowing yourself completely is difficult, and it’s impossible to solve for every single cognitive bias you have. However, just because you suck at it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. You can’t solve every problem in your life, but you can make some headway with minor changes. Here are a few ways of doing just that.

1. Learn to look at yourself objectively

It’s almost impossible to actually look at yourself objectively, but it’s always worth a shot. The main idea here is to study and criticize your decisions. Even better – find some trustworthy friends to talk to and listen to their critiques.

2. Write your own manifesto

The main purpose of self-awareness is self-improvement, so it makes sense that you need to have goals. If you’re struggling with that part, a manifesto is a great way to push yourself into figuring out what you want.

3. Keep a journal

Our memory has a way of coloring the past pretty deeply. If you want a more accurate gauge of yourself, a journal is a great way to get it. A journal makes you more aware of what you’re doing and where problems might be coming from because you can document anything.

4. Perform a self-review

The self-review is one of those annoying little things we all do at work, but you can make them beneficial if you think of them more as a thought experiment. Instead of spending your time thinking about what you should improve about yourself, think about what your boss thinks you should do and what co-workers might say. This way, you’ll be able to see yourself from someone else’s perspective and gain a little extra insight into yourself.

Six Soft Skills Everyone Needs

Numerous surveys have shown that employers try to evaluate their potential employees by the number of soft skills they have. Here you will be able to read about six soft skills that everyone needs to have in order to get the job – and keep it.

1. Communication skills

This doesn’t mean you have to be a brilliant orator. It means that you need to know how to express yourself well. Expressing yourself is important no matter what you do – writing a CV or persuading others with a presentation.

2. Team work and collaboration

Employers want someone who knows how to play well (and fair) with others. Working in a team will probably be something you’ll have to deal with on a daily basis for the duration of your career. Employers are always looking for someone who can effectively work as a part of a team.

3. Adaptability

If you want to succeed in most organizations, you need to have a passion for learning and the ability to continue to grow and stretch your skills to adapt to the changing needs of the organization. Adaptability is especially important for more-seasoned professionals who want to counter the option that older workers are too set in their ways.

4. Problem solving

“How would you solve this problem?” is the question you’ll hardly avoid on your job interview. Your employers can also ask you to give them an example of a problem you’ve solved successfully in the past. Be prepared to explain the problem, your approach to it and the solutions you gave.

5. Critical observation

Collecting and manipulating data is not enough. You also must be able to analyze it and interpret it. Instead of simply giving your boss a spreadsheet with data, try to give him/her a business summary and highlight the key areas of attention and even suggest possible next steps.

6. Conflict resolution

The ability to persuade, negotiate and resolve conflicts is crucial if you plan to move up the corporate ladder. You need to have the skill to develop mutually beneficial relationships in the organization so you can influence and persuade people. Also, you need to be able to negotiate win-win solutions to serve the best interests in the company and the individuals involved.

Brainstorming

Have you heard about brainstorming? Brainstorming is a group or individual creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its member(s). From the definition you can see that this technique can be used for solving any kind of a problem, all you have to do is practice and follow some simple steps.

The creator of this term, Alex Faickney Osborn, claimed that two principles contribute to “ideative efficacy”: defer judgment and reach for quantity. Following these two principles were his four general rules of brainstorming, established with the intention to:

• Reduce social inhibitions among group members
• Stimulate idea generation
• Increase overall creativity of the group.

1. Focus on quantity

This rule is a means of enhancing divergent production, aiming to facilitate problem solving through the maxim quantity breeds quality. The assumption is that the greater the number of ideas generated, the greater the chance of producing a radical and effective solution.

2. Withhold criticism

In brainstorming, criticism of ideas generated should be put ‘on hold’. Instead, participants should focus on extending or adding to ideas, reserving criticism for a later ‘critical stage’ of the process. By suspending judgment, participants will feel free to generate unusual ideas.

3. Welcome unusual ideas

To get a good and long list of ideas, unusual ideas are welcomed. They can be generated by looking from new perspectives and suspending assumptions. These new ways of thinking may provide better solutions.

4. Combine and improve ideas

Good ideas may be combined to form a single better good idea, as suggested by the slogan “1+1=3”. It is believed to stimulate the building of ideas by a process of association.