What Areas For Professional Development Can You Improve

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Most employers prefer working with employees who possess a curious mind and a learning attitude. This is why an employee's career growth often depends on how open and flexible they are to learning and improving their current skill set. Knowing what areas for professional development you can potentially improve can help you measure your progress and enhance your job skills further. In this article, we outline some common areas for professional development and share a few tips for improving those areas.

Potential areas for professional development

Here are some common areas for professional development for employees, along with recommendations for improving each:

Time management

The better a professional can multitask, meet deadlines and manage their time, the more producing they are at work. Good time management skills can also make their jobs less stressful by allowing them to work on projects that are more enjoyable for them. This essential skill allows these professionals to better organise their tasks and develop prioritisation skills.

Consider creating to-do lists to keep track of your tasks for the day and utilise free scheduling software and applications to stay updated on your daily meetings and appointments. You can also use a task-tracking program to measure the progress of your work, set digital reminders for all essential tasks for the day and closely monitor your daily and weekly schedules. Pay attention to how you spend your daily time and whether that aligns with your goals and priorities.

Customer service

Good customer service can significantly affect a company's reputation and ability to get repeat customers. Customer service is a good skill in any job, including those that do not work directly with external customers. For example, customer service skills are also applicable when working with colleagues. Having strong customer service skills enables you to convince others. Employees offering excellent customer service to new and existing customers are likely to bring more sales and leads.

Start by shadowing or mimicking a coworker who has excellent customer service or ask a colleague or mentor to practise mock customer interactions with you. You can also ask your team members to explain how they handle challenging situations and develop your mechanism around them. Consider enrolling in online customer service courses to enhance your skill set or work directly with a customer service coach.

Related: What Is A Customer Care Executive? (With Duties And Skills)

Teamwork

Teams who work together and collaborate well can achieve their goals faster and solve problems quickly working as a group versus separately. Working in a group effectively can also diversify decisions and workflows. Good teamwork makes a company's work process smoother and significantly improves the product or service outcomes.

Develop your interpersonal skills, such as communication and active listening skills. Speak with your coworkers in person rather than having digital communication at all times. It is also important for you to compliment your team members for a job well done. Celebrate your and others' achievements or milestones, schedule regular team lunches to network better with your team members and encourage discussion outside the office.

Interpersonal skills

One of the significant areas for employees' professional development is having good interpersonal skills. Every job requires people who can communicate well with others and have a high emotional quotient or EQ, as it can help them perform their tasks better and motivate other employees to do the same. Interpersonal skills enable people in an organisation to connect and improve the overall efficiency of the workforce. This skill works in combination with other skills, and professionals with good interpersonal capacity often work well in teams and provide excellent customer service.

You can take courses for improving your interpersonal skills or practise traits such as active listening and empathy. Consider observing other employees' interpersonal interactions or working with a mentor to develop or improve this skill. When speaking with others, try maintaining eye contact with them and be aware of your body language. Observe your colleagues' or mentors' body language during meetings or conversations.

Read More: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions And Examples

Communication

Communication skills are a general requirement for any job these days, as it helps potential employers assess your personality, capability and how good of an employee you can become. These skills entail written communication and verbal and non-verbal communication. Good communicators can help the organisation win big clients and deals as it positions the employee at the bid as confident and trustworthy, which directly affects the company's reputation. Communicating well can also help employees become more productive and well-organised while boosting the company's morale.

To improve your verbal communication skills, practice by talking to your colleagues or fellow employees and talking face-to-face when possible, as it can help you understand the non-verbal reaction of the other person. Listen closely when someone else is speaking and try not to interrupt them. If you are still developing confidence, try practising what you are going to say before you speak. Work to improve your body language and adjust your communication style and tone according to the conversation.

Read More: Verbal Communication Examples In The Workplace (With Tips)

Writing

Writing skills are essential for any job role as almost all jobs require written communication—whether through report writing or document preparation. These skills are also crucial for an individual's professional development. Whether you are creating a brief, proposal, presentation or analysis, excellent writing skills can set you apart from others and position you as an effective communicator who knows what they are talking about.

Before you write professionally, thoroughly read the company style guide for communication and written content and ensure that your content matches those guidelines—whether in terms of font, styling or spacing. Consider installing a free spelling or grammar checker to highlight writing mistakes while suggesting improvements and asking a fellow employee to proofread your content. You can also take feedback from your mentor or your colleagues on how to improve your written communication.

Read More: 10 Tips To Improve Your Writing Skills

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a valuable skill that can help improve an individual's communication, management skills, problem-solving abilities and workplace relationships. It refers to an individual's ability to accept or give feedback to others, as effective feedback can help boost an employee's or the company's overall success. You can also improve this skill with constant practice and training to help you make better decisions in the long term.

Become more self-aware and understand why you are feeling the way you are feeling, pay attention to your empathy levels for others and try practising calm in challenging environments. Manage your conflict resolution abilities and strategies by working with a coworker, try listening and responding to constructive criticism in a more positive way and practice self-regulation by finding techniques to release workplace stress. Your stress buster can be anything that helps you de-stress, whether it is yoga, meditative practices or breathing exercises.

Problem-solving

Strong problem-solving skills can help you quickly identify a problem, think of potentially workable solutions to deal with the situation and offer the best solution to your team. An individual's problem-solving abilities can help employers determine how present they are on the job and whether they can trust them with challenging situations. These skills can also help employees resolve their workplace conflicts and overcome project or creative roadblocks by thinking of alternative ways to reach the goals.

Watch the coworkers you admire and respect resolving their conflicts and workplace issues and try learning from their strategies or experiences. After living through a problem, think of ways to handle the situation differently and take mental notes next time. Practice collaborating with others often, learning from their skills, and remaining calm in tense situations.

Leadership

Good leadership skills can help professionals reach their goals easily while solving problems and communicating effectively with project partners. Leadership skills are essential in every job role, and even individual contributors to a project can benefit from developing these skills. Whether it is a project presentation or a meeting you have to attend, having excellent leadership skills can help you perform your tasks efficiently and confidently while collaborating with others towards a common goal.

Practice leadership skills outside of your work commitments by participating in team-building exercises and workshops where you can volunteer to lead or communicate with others. You can also get involved in fundraising efforts for a campaign you care about, as it can enhance your people's skills. Consider enrolling for online or in-person leadership courses to build your skillset.

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