Basic business skills can boost your chances of success whether you decide to strike out on your own after getting a business degree or work for an established company. Joe McKendrick of ZDNet says these kinds of skills have not lost value in the digital aged, but “have become more important.”
Sometimes called “soft skills”, these behaviors demonstrate you’re able to build relationships and be dependable in the workplace. Here are the most common business skills that never go out of style:
Communications – writing and speaking well are the signals of a good communicator. Whether you’re asked to create and give a presentation, share your ideas in a large or small group, or communicate through emails throughout the day, you need to be able to show confidence and demonstrate you know the difference between texting with your friends and responding to a request from your boss. Hone your communications skills to stand out.
Time management – when ten tasks land in your lap, can you prioritize them and get stuff done? Learning how to identify which things to do first shows maturity of thought and an understanding of your work culture. Learn the difference between urgent and important and get comfortable with the idea of asking for clarity if you’re not sure. As Monster’s Daniel Bortz says, “Time is money” when talking about priorities.
Being flexible – the ability to adapt to sudden changes not resisting what can't be changed is invaluable in the work world. Most humans don’t like change, and one key than can help you manage change is to identify what things you have control over and what things you don’t. Reach out to others who are having a hard time with ideas to move ahead rather than look behind you.
Conflict management - sooner or later, you're going to be at odds with someone else; learn how to handle disagreements constructively. This goes back to communications skills. You need to be able to present your thoughts in a way in which they will be accepted and considered—and you need to be able to give others that same opportunity. Learning how to deal with disagreements and constructive criticism will set you apart.
Teamwork - it's not possible to work in a vacuum, so learning how to work with others who have different strengths and skills sets t helps everyone accomplish a common goal. Bortz says that “83% of employers said…teamwork is a top priority when assessing entry-level job candidates.” There’s typically more than one way to solve a problem, so keep an open mind.
Being patient - things don't always happen as fast as you'd like. Learning patience and making friends with waiting for the right time can pay off in big ways for your career. Conversely, pushing an idea or change when the timing is wrong will hurt your chances of being tapped to lead a project where patience is key.
Project management - while you may not go as far as to get certified, learning basic project management will always help you achieve success. If you’re a solid team player with a good grasp of your company’s goals, learning to select a good team, set and communicate priorities and manage all the parts to reach a goal are within your grasp.
Critical thinking - in business, there aren't always cut and dried answers. You need to be able to problem solve and think independently about solutions that will help you or customers. Business School Edge adds that “an employee who is good at keeping their head while fighting fires is a worthwhile asset.” Thinking outside the box can get you noticed.
Whether you run your own business or are part of a large or small organization, basic business skills apply across the board. Learning these skills in the classroom will give you an edge when taking them into the “real world”. Taking online business courses from StraighterLine builds a solid foundation of business skills and knowledge you'll use for a lifetime. Why not start now to build a successful foundation for your future (or current) career?