Top Personal Development Skills To Improve Your Career

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.

Personal development is essential to realising your professional goals and aspirations in life. Some personal skills include integrity, communication, work ethic, leadership, problem-solving, confidence and interpersonal skills. Developing these skills can help develop your potential, set meaningful goals and live a more fulfilling life. In this article, we discuss personal development skills, explain why it is necessary to develop them and share some important examples and tips to cultivate them.

What are personal development skills?

Personal development skills are specific qualities and abilities that enable you to grow both personally and professionally. These skills can increase your potential, help you navigate difficult situations and aid you in achieving your career goals. Identifying the right personal skills and improving them can contribute to your long-term success. The process of consciously working towards one's personal development also contributes to personal growth or self-development.

It is important to note that developing your personal skills is not a one-time event. The development of these skills is a continuous process and takes place as you encounter new responsibilities, people and situations. As you gain more professional and personal experience, your skills develop, and you become more perceptive, empathetic, confident and flexible. Working on these skills can be a lifelong learning process, as there is virtually no end to improving your soft skills and enhancing your personality.

Why are personal development skills important?

Personal development skills are essential because they help you expand your ability and competency to meet your professional and personal goals. Improving these skills can help you do the following:

  • advance in career goals

  • create personal goals and objectives

  • improve strengths and talents

  • find satisfaction and fulfilment in work and life

  • develop fulfilling relationships

  • understand yourself better and develop self-awareness

  • improve clarity and focus

  • find the motivation to excel

  • build resilience in tough situations

Examples of personal development skills

Developing personal skills can help you reach personal and professional goals. Here are some common skills that facilitate personal development:

Integrity

Integrity is doing what is morally correct regardless of the situation. It is when your actions are consistent with your commitment and words. Being honest with yourself and other people can come with several challenges, and it takes a lot of discipline and strength of character to practise consistently. An individual who practises integrity in personal and professional life is usually more trustworthy and reliable, can communicate with others openly and admit their mistakes when wrong. Having a strong sense of morality can help build a strong reputation and earn the loyalty and trust of people around.

Related: What Is Integrity? Definition And Examples

Communication

Communication includes your ability to write, speak and listen. It involves expressing your thoughts, emotions and ideas to others clearly. It also involves paying attention to the thoughts and feelings of other people and listening to what they have to say. A good communicator uses a positive tone, makes eye contact, speaks confidently while stating their opinions with conviction. Being a good speaker and listener can help one build stronger personal and professional relationships and collaborate with others. It can prevent unnecessary misunderstandings or conflicts and increase mutual respect between team members.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions And Examples

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal, social or people skills are verbal and non-verbal cues and behaviours that one displays while interacting with other people. These skills can help you build strong personal and professional relationships with others. Strong interpersonal skills can help individuals understand family, co-workers, friends and clients better and make the right impression during social situations. In a professional setting, interpersonal skills can help one grow one's professional network, facilitate discussions and increase workplace productivity. A leader with these skills can ensure that their team functions smoothly and shares a cordial working relationship.

Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions And Examples

Organisational skills

Organisational skills include physical and digital organisation, planning and time-management skills. With good organisational skills, you can utilise your time, energy, mental capacity and physical resources in an efficient manner to achieve professional goals. Physical and digital organisation skills help one maintain a well-organised and clutter-free workplace while mental organisational skills facilitate one to think in a clear, orderly and logical way. Planning, prioritising and delegating tasks can lower stress and increase productivity, helping individuals achieve the desired outcomes and focus on bigger goals. It can also eliminate procrastination and lead to increased motivation among individuals at the workplace.

Confidence

Confidence is the conviction that you can succeed at something and do it well. Being genuinely confident involves having a realistic sense of your capabilities, yet being secure in this knowledge. It is the belief that you can successfully meet challenges and includes the willingness to perform the required actions for success. Confidence is an attractive trait and can help you in both personal and professional situations. Projecting confidence can help one make a positive first impression, gain credibility and manage challenges better. Self-confidence in individuals increases through personal and professional accomplishments.

Work ethic

Work ethics are strong moral principles that employees display with respect to the work they do. They reflect in the day-to-day behaviour and attitude towards your work and responsibilities. The main components of a strong work ethic include integrity, respect for work and colleagues, professionalism, punctuality and discipline. Employers value employees with a strong work ethic as it promotes trust and honesty in the workplace culture. To develop a strong work ethic, you can inculcate discipline and focus in your personal life and routine. Having a strong work ethic includes being accountable for your actions and taking ownership.

Problem-solving

Problem-solving skills are the ability to correctly identify the nature of a challenge, analyse it and develop an effective action plan to resolve it. Problem-solving is a prominent part of professional life, regardless of their role or position. Employers gauge the problem-solving skills of prospective employees by assessing their ability to handle difficult situations and complex business problems. Good problem-solving skills are essential to help one take the right decisions and to aid the smooth functioning of an organisation. Creativity and critical thinking are also necessary for enhancing one's problem-solving abilities.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions And Examples

Leadership

Leadership skills are the professional abilities to oversee, guide and supervise teams and employees to achieve organisational goals. These skills are integral for senior executives and managers to help them make meaningful decisions, take actionable steps and allocate resources effectively. Some essential leadership skills may include the ability to motivate, delegate and communicate well, along with other traits like confidence, honesty, empathy and creativity. Good leaders also know how to offer appropriate feedback to their team members in a clear and empathetic manner. They also welcome feedback, demonstrate strong commitment and take responsibility for end results.

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions And Examples

Adaptability

Adaptability enables an individual to adjust or make changes in one's actions or environment to suit a new situation. The ability to adapt easily to changing work processes and environments is a skill that is valued by all organisations. Employees that quickly adapt to changes can save resources for the organisation. With a flexible and adaptable approach, employees can try and learn new things, undertake new challenges and make adjustments to suit new scenarios at the workplace. They are also able to respond quickly to new responsibilities, changing ideas, processes, expectations, trends and strategies.

Empathy

Empathy is an important life skill for individuals to lead and succeed in both their professional and personal lives. It is the ability to connect with others and understand the perspectives and feelings of those around them. Developing empathy can help one develop more character strengths like gratitude and compassion.

This skill can help you build emotional connections with other people and create meaningful relationships in your personal and professional life. The ability to relate to the emotions and experiences of other people is also beneficial at the workplace as it fosters deep respect between colleagues, improves communication and strengthens working relationships within the team.

Etiquette

Good manners and etiquette are indispensable modern-day life skills. They are the rules that govern decency and respectable behaviour in both social and business interactions. Practising etiquette shows respect and consideration to other people and helps them feel more comfortable during an interaction. It focuses on treating people kindly and with respect, along with being authentic and sincere in everyday life. Good etiquette can help one make a favourable first impression and enhance respect among colleagues. Common examples of etiquette include corporate etiquette, business etiquette, dining etiquette and social etiquette.

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