Becoming an agent of change in the business world requires more than just a cause. You also have to have the skills to rise above the white noise and make a genuine difference.
Here are a few of the biggest hard and soft skills you want to have down pat if you want to make an impact, get noticed, and ultimately shake things up for the better throughout your career.
Business Training is a Great Idea
If you want to make a difference no matter where you’re working, it’s a good idea to spend some time studying more than just technical skills related to your particular field. Business training and even a full-blown business degree can open up the doors to leadership and management positions in a plethora of fields, from healthcare to finance, marketing, consulting, and beyond.
Investing in an MBA or other business training is a great way to develop business skills and stand out against other candidates.
Communication is Key
Communication is much more than the ability to maintain a conversation. In business, communication revolves around things like:
- Being concise
- Using active listening
- Effectively answering questions
Use things like the 3-1-3 method to help hone your business communication skills.
Job Hunting is a Skill Too
You may think everything you’re doing is preparing for working your job. However, you also want to take time honing your job-hunting skills, as well.
Modern job hunting doesn’t consist of filling out applications and calling it a day. It’s a time-intensive activity that requires a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Job hunting hard and soft skills to work on include:
- Learning how to write (and update) a resume with your education, experience, and the best skills that showcase your qualifications.
- Creating and maintaining a portfolio or other item to demonstrate your past accomplishments.
- Practicing your interview skills so that you can appear polished, professional, and full of energy and conviction.
The majority of your skills will be focused on your career. But don’t forget to keep those job-hunting talents sharpened, too.
Being Flexible is a Requirement
Flexibility isn’t just needed for things like remote work schedules. It’s also one of the top requirements for a leader.
The ability to be flexible is a foundational aspect of effective business activity. This means learning to adjust to others’ expectations, schedules, and timelines. You must be willing to give ground in certain places to get what you need in other areas.
Empathizing the Right Way
Unless you’re going to work under a rock, you need to have a well-defined sense of empathy. This shouldn’t just apply to causes and companies that resonate with your activist spirit, either. It should also extend to your bosses, coworkers, and employees.
The ability to empathize and see things from another person’s perspective can help you connect with others. It can also facilitate things like:
- Better communication
- Productive collaboration
- Effective diplomacy and the ability to find compromises
While empathy is important, empathizing in the right way is also something to consider. Empathy doesn’t equate to becoming a “yes addict.” On the contrary, you should balance your ability to understand others with also knowing your limits and when it’s the right time to say no.
Always Growing and Continually Learning Can Get You Far
Finally, if you want to maintain the ability to truly impact whatever business you operate in, you must maintain a forward-thinking mindset. This is most often described as a growth mindset.
This is the opposite of a fixed mindset, where you act as if things like your intelligence, abilities, and understanding are fixed factors in your life. As an activist and an agent of change, this likely rubs you the wrong way — as it should. A fixed mindset is counterproductive and leads to stagnation.
However, be warned that it’s surprisingly easy to slip into a fixed mindset without realizing it. It’s easy to cap your capabilities and assume that you can’t do certain things. It’s also tempting to feel intimidated by change and progress.
This is where a growth mindset makes a big difference. By accepting that your inherent talents and capabilities can grow, you can embrace change with boldness. By continually learning new things and looking for the newest way to do things, you can become an innovator and change creator in your business at all times.
Sharpening Your Skills for the Future
There are plenty of skills that can give you a cutting edge in business. Some of these are more practical than others. The ability to write a good resume and understand business concepts can help you stand out against the competition.
At the same time, soft skills like communication, flexibility, and empathy are all critical factors, as well. They help you connect with others and become a leader that can make a genuine difference.
Finally, it’s that crucial growth mindset that can keep you at the forefront of change and innovation throughout your career. If you can remain willing to embrace change, you will be able to get your foot in the door at any company you want — and then make changes for the better once you’re hired.