By DeVry University
Interested in a career in business? You're probably exploring degree programs that can help grow your knowledge in areas like accounting, operations and marketing. You might even be thinking about the hands-on, technical skills you’ll add to your future resume. But have you thought about "soft skills"? Communication skills, business acumen and adaptability are all important to cultivate if you aspire to become a leader in your field.
In addition to having strong skills and education backgrounds, successful professionals constantly seek out ways to improve their leadership qualities and expand their personal brand. See how having empathy at work, recognizing the impact of social networking and understanding the importance of communication in business can be some of your greatest tools for success:
1. Empathy at Work
Empathy is the ability to recognize emotions in other individuals and to understand the perspectives of others in a situation.
Why is empathy a key tool in the workplace? When you can empathize with someone else, you can better resolve workplace conflicts; improve relationships with customers, clients and coworkers; and build productive teams.
So how can you develop empathy at work? According to Psychology Today, you should:
- Give your full attention when listening to others, particularly to their interests and needs.
- Listen without arguing, disputing or asking direct questions right away.
Talk about yourself only when connecting to something the other person is saying.
- Ask questions that help you learn more about what the person is feeling.
Empathy is something you can put into action every day as a respected leader.
2. Ability to Leverage Social Networking for Professional Growth
Where do executives communicate, demonstrate thought leadership, network and engage in lifelong learning?
Social media is an important technology tool for business professionals. And one of the most pertinent to business life – LinkedIn – is expected to continue to build momentum this year.
A strong network is key to business success, and building one in 2020 means using social networks like LinkedIn effectively. Here are a few ways you can maximize the benefits of professional social networking platforms:
- Master video sharing. According to Social Media Today, “research has also shown that LinkedIn users are 20x more likely to share a video on the platform than any other type of post.” If you want to be viewed as a thought leader in your field, start by sharing relevant video content that your connections may find valuable.
- Leverage technology to engage in lifelong learning through programs that help you level up specific skills – or brush up on what you already know. For example, LinkedIn Learning offers online training on everything from design to web development, coding, marketing, small business ownership, project management and more.
- Demonstrate thought leadership across all social channels – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram – by offering learnings, tips and information around your education or work.
3. Strong Communication Skills
Don't underestimate the importance of communication in business. According to Forbes, communication is key to:
- Preventing and resolving conflict on the job.
- Building trust.
- Building relationships.
- Improving productivity.
- Driving creativity.
If your communication skills are not yet up to par, there are ways to practice in your everyday personal and work lives. Here are some strategies outlined by Forbes:
- Ask good questions.
- Summarize during a conversation to ensure you understand properly.
- Use short sentences.
- Listen to others before expressing your opinion.
- Express your point of view in brief, bite size chunks that people can remember.
Enhancing your communication skills can not only improve your leadership capabilities, but can also help you stand out as you aspire towards higher-level positions that are critical to business planning.
A Key Tool for Your Professional Toolbox: A Business Degree
As you grow in your career, you will be faced with situations every day that require you to leverage your professional toolbox. Whether you are practicing empathy, developing new connections or communicating with co-workers, a business degree or certificate can help you build on your existing strengths and pursue your goals. Learn more about online and on-campus programs at DeVry University and our Keller Graduate School of Management.