Don’t Wait to Build Your Skills

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in ComLead, Organizational Leadership

Don’t Wait to Build Your Skills

In a recent post, we shared the findings from the 2012 study that identified the skills today’s dream employee has to have. We learned that communication skills are the #1 desired trait in new hires.

“Communication” skills is a pretty broad concept to think about. How do you even begin to write about them on a resume? You can think about building communication skills in terms of the following specific competencies.

Competencies of a Skilled Communicator

Organization communication skills simply refers to the ability to navigate all the complex networks and structures that are unique to your organization. Is your organization hierarchical or flat? Large or small? Do you need to follow a specific protocol to get information to a higher up, or does the CEO sit at the next cube over? Knowing how to share and get information, resolve conflict, build information networks and provide feedback are essential skills if your work brings you into contact with other human beings.

Next, leadership. A skilled leadership communicator should be able to arouse enthusiasm, catalyze change, and build team synergy. In the eyes of experts, the ability to persuade is required of all successful leaders. Leadership communication is the ability to move people – not just in speeches, but in everyday ways – toward a bigger goal.

Finally, a skilled interpersonal communicator knows how to work with other effectively by building relationships. Building trust and respect, connecting with people of other cultures, demonstrating emotional control, and listening well are important abilities. These skills might sound like no-brainers, but doing them well everyday takes conscientious effort.

Growing your Skills

Are you reading this and feeling like there’s still a lot to learn? Take hope! The 2012 study emphasized something I found encouraging: all of these skills are teachable.

Hands-on experience teaches us an important truth: everyone communicates differently. We learn through experience what tacts work best with which people. Formal education, too, can help us build communication skills we’ve been missing at work – things like tailoring messages to fit organization structure and learning how to tap into the way our brain’s work to help people change.

If you’re looking for a new opportunity to grow at work, remember that your new boss is looking for organizational, leadership and interpersonal skills. A graduate degree in Communication & Leadership, which integrates all three of these skills into a unique curriculum, could be the next step for you. Learn more at

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