Any number of so-called “hard skills” will skyrocket in demand in 2024 — and you’re well served by brushing up on your technical understanding (especially in AI, data, cybersecurity, and cloud computing.)
But knowing how to code won’t be enough in 2024. The pandemic has changed the way the working world operates, and at Star, we’re predicting a higher need for relational skills in 2024. Relational skills are what keep organizations moving forward, and they’re the glue that holds the whole thing together.
In order to keep up, employees will need to develop their “soft skills” — workplace skills that are by no means less important than their more technical counterparts.
Here, we break down three key relational skills that are appropriate for any workplace or role — and how you can use them to advance your career in this new year.
1. Emotional intelligence
It’s a buzzy phrase, but it packs a punch — and the ability to navigate your emotions can be the difference between being stuck in a role to moving up and gaining more leadership, responsibility, and decision-making power. Not sure where to begin? It’s a good idea to start with self-awareness — it’s the jumping-off point for beginning to understand yourself.
To develop self-awareness, consider instituting a check-in with yourself throughout your work day. Ask yourself:
- When did I feel anxious today? What triggered the anxiety?
- When did I feel most at ease?
- What made me feel angry or frustrated? How did I respond?
- Is there support I wish I had received today?
The answers to these questions provide valuable information: You can get a sense of your stressors and what makes you operate at your best. You’ll be bolstered by this knowledge of your patterns, and you can use that self-awareness to start navigating the emotions more deftly. And if you manage to keep your cool during a frustrating moment and rally your peers to band together to find a solution? Your manager will take note.
2. Health and wellness
In yet another change brought by the pandemic, employees simply must dedicate energy to preserving their own health — and the health of their peers. (Notably, this does not include weight loss programs in the office.)
- Stay home. It’s incumbent upon managers to demonstrate excellent health habits, including prioritizing rest and taking time off when ill. And employees can follow that example. Gone are the days when we might work through a mild flu — we have seen the impact of contagion in the workplace. Consider calling in sick a deeply thoughtful act of community care.
- Support your body’s needs in the workplace. Do you do better standing up than sitting all day? A standing desk can help! Do you get antsy? Suggest a walking or rolling meeting. Does your office support hydration with easily available filtered water? It can’t hurt to ask! Need to go to an AA meeting on lunch? Don’t hesitate!
- Take a mental health day. You don’t need to be in crisis — you just need to know you deserve some rest.
In your reviews, consider mentioning how you support your coworker’s wellness needs and make a strong case for how your team has thrived with a bit more attention to their health. Thinking about your peers’ wellbeing? That’s a workplace skill that’s management material.
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If emotional intelligence starts with self-awareness, consider developing resilience to be the advanced level class. Resilience is a necessary workplace skill for moving up the ladder — it’s what enables leaders to weather the inevitable storms that come for any organization.
To develop resilience, you need to get serious about control. As a basic starting point, practice this script with yourself when life — or work — throws the unexpected your way. Ask yourself:
- What part of this situation can I control?
- What part of this situation can I not control?
Sit with these two questions — and sometimes, the only answer to the second is “how I react.” From there, slow yourself down — even if you’re struggling with anxiety. Take a breath or a walk, and make a plan based on what you can control. Even if that just means keeping everyone calm. Even it if just means keeping yourself calm. Maintaining an even keel when the uncontrollable happens sets you apart from employees less qualified to lead.