Business in Britain is changing. We have endured a tough global recession but emerged intact, and there is good news as analysts are forecasting steady growth for the country's economy over the coming years. There is little doubt this will be a challenging time for UK employees at all levels, mainly because companies are more conscious of the need to streamline and lower their costs. But if you are someone who is willing to spend time strengthening your skillset, it also offers a real opportunity.
These modern, lean management structures place greater importance on the individual and never before have the values of motivation, initiative and communication been held in such high regard. Harnessing these skills will go a long way to helping you stand out and become a valuable asset to your employer.
With this in mind we at Skillsoft have used our years of experience, helping workers develop their careers through elearning, to identify seven deadly skills every modern employee needs to rise above the crowd.
1. Be an effective communicator - lead by example
Success largely depends on your ability to communicate effectively with all those around you; organisations want employees who are able to both understand and be understood. Written communication needs to have clear direction, accurate facts and the appropriate language - nothing should be left to guesswork. The ability to speak with confidence, credibility and poise, and also with enthusiasm, will motivate others and boost productivity.
2. Motivator, innovator
Seek out more challenging assignments, always meet deadlines and colleagues will respect your direction. A team that is lead by a good motivator and an inspiring innovator will ultimately achieve.
3. Be a strategic thinker
Strategic thinking is a term that affects employees at all levels and can impact on an entire organisation. For middle-managers this is difficult as they feel they are shouldering a lot of responsibility without really having any power. Although being caught between senior managers and line staff can be challenging, there is an opportunity to play an important role. The reality is that senior managers rely on the middle-manager to translate their priorities and directives so that goals can be achieved. If you are a senior manager, you need to use strategic thinking to identify goals that drive a business forward and lead to future growth.
4. Spotting and harnessing exceptional talent
Cultivate the right team that will meet objectives and give your company that competitive edge. It is vital that talent spotting and development are treated as a top priority, especially in this economic climate. You also need to remember that talent may come from within your organisation, so don't rush to look for external options as your next leaders could be sitting right next to you.
5. Discovering and nurturing your business acumen
Bridging the gap between management skills and business expertise can be a challenge. By developing the business acumen of employees, organisations will see new and compelling business strategies becoming defined but the right skills must be in place. To possess business acumen, you must understand your company's market place, its position within it and where improvements can be made. A thorough understanding of the business landscape will also help you recognise and learn how external change can affect a company's success.
6. A beautiful mind - solving problems and decision making
Decision-making and problem solving are important skills in both life and business. One tends to incorporate the other, but techniques can be learnt to make the process quicker and ensure better results. Analysing a situation and identifying problems is a key business process, but it does not come naturally to most of us. Decision-making training can help you focus on each problem and deal with it in the appropriate manner. It will also improve your skills and help make more of an impact in your organisation.
7. Adapting to an ever-changing business landscape
Business is an area where change is one of the only constants. You must learn to embrace these changes and seek out creative ways of dealing with the accelerating speed of modern business life. Whatever the change, good communication is crucial; listening to fears, questions or concerns from your colleagues is key to dealing with any changes. Responding well to change will inspire your team and will show that you can adapt to any situation.