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Abilities needed in the workplace

There are many traits that will increase the chance for success in the workplace, regardless of whether you are just starting out in your career or are experienced. It also doesn’t really matter what position you hold or are applying for. These abilities should be developed and practiced.

1. Decision making skills — The average person makes over 400 decisions each day, some more important than others.  This is a learned skill that when practiced can be very impactful. Lack of decision making and procrastination lead to problems with co-workers and those you manage.

2. Communication skills — Communication, i.e. speaking, writing and listening, cannot be overemphasized. Words have power. These skills are of utmost importance and unfortunately are the most lacking in applicants today.

3. Getting along with others — You will be working with people different from you. They may be older or younger, of a different sex, have a different  ethnicity, come from various  backgrounds,  have more or less education, be very experienced  or inexperienced. You can learn from all of them and you must learn to work in harmony with them.

4. Teamwork — The ability to work in groups, depending on each other and thinking “out of the box” are crucial. Develop an appreciation of others’ contributions and recognize the way you complement each other. Celebrate victories together.

5. Dealing with failure — Things don’t always go as planned. The pathway to success is strewn with losses and disappointments along the way. Learning to deal with success and failure is essential.

6. Ethical behavior — Honesty, integrity and trustworthiness are important traits of successful people. Always do the right thing and treat others fairly regardless of the situation or who is involved. Unethical behavior can derail your career and will follow you for years.

7. Believing in yourself — This is learned from an early age and is carried with you all your life. A healthy self-esteem is crucial in interpersonal relationships. However, an over abundance of self-esteem can lead to arrogance and an elitist attitude.  Too little can result in the lack of ability to perform, poor teamwork and the inability to get along with others. You need a balance of believing in yourself and in others.

Add to the above problem solving skills, initiative and enterprise, organizational skills, planning, self-management, technology and continuous learning for the best preparation to ensure success on the job. These are the traits employers are looking for and they are also very beneficial in personal relationships. 

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.