Businesses thrive on a combination of instinct, experience and competence. While instinct tells you if the project proposal on your desk is worth placing a bid for, it is the skills residing within your business that determine the revenue generated against work completed. Skills are the very reason several career paths exist. And many more roles are being created as we speak, to aggressively meet the influx of new, and different demands.
Everyone is skilled at something or the other, and conscientious workers know that mastering new skills and staying employable are concurrent events. In other words, self-improvement while on the job or through specifically targeted reskilling and/or upskilling helps improve workplace competence. Businesses can subsequently employ relevant and highly-experienced staff.
But it’s not just about the benefits a business gets. It’s about enabling your staff to reach their full potential by shaping the learning curve. Rather than marginalizing them to the company sidelines or allocating them work that they’re not prepared for, knowing which skills are worth investing in and in turn, mastering is key to achieving business success.
Here are 4 core skills worth enhancing as you grow professionally
- People management
It’s one thing to manage people and quite another to lead them, given that no two leadership styles are alike. A common belief remains among managers that managing departmental teams will just come ‘naturally’ to them when the time is right. However, there is evidence to the contrary justifying why being skilled at people management should be a priority rather than an afterthought.
For one, employees who are managed well perform better, give back to the company who hired them and pay it forward by taking new recruits under their wing. And for another, such managers know the pulse of the team and can follow up on setbacks or issues individual members bring up in weekly, monthly or even yearly reviews.
Managing projects schedules and people is simpler when you know how a resource management software works. For one, it offers unmatched visibility into the work your team members are on. And the more you see, the better able you are to find available skills and assign them high-priority work. Besides ensuring the same project isn’t double booked, you can prevent tasks that conflict with one another and ensure every available hour is accounted for. Your staff’s true capabilities come forth with an optimal workload, after all.
- Communication and collaboration
Communication is as much about listening as it is about being speaking. And a strong communicator has the innate ability to bridge conversation gaps between senior management and teams. Change begins with acceptance, but how can your teams stay productive when they’re left out of updates that impact their roles, responsibilities and progression within the firm?
With the shift to flexible work hours, project teams are now both culturally and geographically diverse. Keeping the lines of communication open across time zones sets expectations and lets teams catch up more efficiently. Moreover, it prevents the number of rounds of rework and leaves your staff free to focus on critical time-intensive tasks instead.
It facilitates team building and creates a culture of transparency in the way teams operate. So long as team interactions are regularized, members remain in the know of work completed against the work pending, and can reach the desired milestones. As a skill best acquired over the years, working on your communicative ability lets you get, as well as give out information.
- Cash Flow management
Cash flow involves running the numbers on a businesses’ different costs, which include opportunity costs and operational, logistics, labor, material and training expenses. It requires you to manage finances by estimating these costs. You can then predict which areas will experience the risk of an overrun.
Auditing relies on the data crunched as well as one’s expert judgment. It helps you catch discrepancies and keeps track of money coming in and going out. Cash flow management not only lets you gauge the year’s financial performance but also lets you analyze the impact of fiscal changes to the business revenue in the future.
Mastering cash flow management creates a negative working capital, which funds product innovation. In other words, it ensures payments are made upfront and prevents you from borrowing beyond your means.
Some of the best practices to manage the cash flow include carrying out credit checks to weed out unsatisfactory scores, issue invoices promptly and offer a cash on delivery option to avoid slow-paying customers.
- Problem solving
In an economy that sees fluctuations in work and skills needed to drive technically-charged projects, it is better to take educated guesses, as opposed to speculative ones. Original thinkers are what employers look for when hiring, given that when the reins of leadership are passed on, your successor should be able to steer the business in times of uncertainty.
It’s down to a manager to go over the red flags and determine their severity, occurrence rates and why it persists. A manager who touches base with their colleagues, stakeholders and teams can make informed decisions, taking competing interests into consideration. Problem solving begins with identifying external and internal threats and the root causes behind them. Consequently, a contingency plan can be created to mitigate the long-term impact on the organization.
As overwhelming as it may seem to put out fires, you don’t have to do all the work yourself. Everyone has a knack for problem solving, which means you should be able to recognize and connect with staff who can think on their feet. They’re the ones who can assist you in your planning and prevent old and new issues alike from resurfacing.