group of young professionals holding speech bubbles
From effective time management skills to being flexible when things don't go as planned, there are several traits that can help lead to success in the business world. — Getty Images/Yuri_Arcurs

Different jobs require different competencies at hard skills. For your career to succeed, you need to possess certain measurable skills that pertain to your industry. These can include coding, writing or proficiency in specific computer programs.

Equally important, though often less emphasized, are soft skills. These intangible qualities add productivity to your workflow, as well as make you a positive influence in your office. For many people, soft skills are inherent to who you are, but they can be developed and nurtured over time. Here are the seven most important soft skills for career growth in any industry.

[Read: 8 Personality Traits of Every Great Biz Dev Expert]

Communication

Perhaps the most important soft skill to master, having excellent communication skills is a huge advantage for any job in any industry. Strong written skills allow you to state your objective effectively and efficiently in e-mails, memos and any other written document, putting your managers, teammates and clients all on the same page.

Effective verbal communication helps you set your tone in the office and helps build relationships with co-workers and customers. Having the ability to take complex insider talk and translate it into accessible language is a powerful soft skill that can create new opportunities.

Time management

Being a master at hard skills means nothing if you don’t have the time management skills to accomplish your goals. Poor time management skills create a ripple effect that could affect your entire team and cause delayed production or workflow. By setting a schedule for your deadlines, having a realistic sense of how long projects are going to take and executing them in the time allotted, you’ll set yourself ahead.

Empathy

The ability to understand what your co-workers and customers are going through is an invaluable skill that will take you up the corporate ladder. Listening and empathizing lets them know that you understand what they’re going through and that you’re a resource for them. It also allows you to solve their problems through your products and services.

[Read: 5 Tips for Hiring the Right Employee]

Being handed your degree at graduation should not be the last time you actively learn.

Teamwork

No company’s success relies entirely on one person doing everything themselves. Collaboration and teamwork make working towards a common goal easier, while building a sense of camaraderie. Employers look for people who can join their existing team, work within that system and amplify their teammates work output.

Adaptability

Work rarely goes the way you plan it. Instead of getting mad and complaining when things aren’t going the way you’d like, choose to adapt and make alternative plans. Being flexible when problems present themselves, taking a macro viewpoint as to why things have changed and meeting your deadline through any means is necessary for a successful outcome. Companies look for and value someone who is unflappable during adversity.

Curiosity

Being handed your degree at graduation should not be the last time you actively learn. A sense of curiosity shows that you’re interested in the work you’re doing and want to learn more. It makes you more invested in the work, too, as well as more knowledgeable about what you’re doing. You’ll also gain additional skills to be more effective at your job, which makes you more appealing should a promotion arise.

Networking

Not just a skill for those who are looking for a new job, networking with industry peers opens you up to new resources who could become valuable assets in the future. They can also be a sounding board for ideas and workplace issues.

[Read: Soft Skills are Hard to Find: Hiring Beyond the Resume]

It takes time to develop soft skills, but they are an important element that can help you throughout your entire career, regardless of job level or industry. It’s important to be mindful of what you’re trying to achieve and have an accurate sense of self-awareness of your successes and areas of improvement. Once you understand yourself, you can further develop your soft skills and expand your opportunities.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published June 24, 2020