5 Essential Skills for a Successful Business Career
Updated By Staff Writer on June 17, 2020
All over the web, you're going to find articles about the 9 incredibly important things you need to do and the 15 vitally fundamental ways you need to act and the 4 super-key personality traits you need to have in order to achieve wild success in business. And they'll all tell you basically the same things: you need to manage your time well, and be able to plan strategically. You need to have good communication and interpersonal skills. You have to be a leader but also a team player!
And believe me, these are incredibly important skills, and they'll help you find a great job. An essential foundation for success in the business world is business training. A business degree will teach you the basics and will give you the skills you require to launch a career.
But a truly successful career? That happens when you feel fulfilled, when you feel that your skills are valuable and your contributions are essential to your company. For a successful business career, you'll need to take what you learn when you get a business degree and take it a step further.
Here are five essential skills to help you truly learn how to succeed in business:
Be interested—and interesting.
Stay true to yourself.
Look ahead to the future.
Creativity is one of the most undervalued assets in a business career—but it's also incredibly important. It's not enough to just be good at analytical evaluation—creativity helps you innovate, solve problems in original ways, and distinguish yourself from your peers. The companies that expand and grow are the companies that value independent thinkers with new ideas. And the careers that expand and grow belong to the kind of people who offer exciting new solutions to longstanding business problems, no matter how large or small they are.
The most important motivator in the workplace is your own passion—your interest in not only your job but doing your job brilliantly. When you are engaged in what you do, looking for ways to improve, to thrive, to contribute, your satisfaction grows exponentially, and your job performance skyrockets. It's important to stay stimulated, to seek out challenges, to continue to evolve as an employee and to show your supervisors that you are committed, both professionally and personally, to your work. And supervisors take an interest in an employee who demonstrates that kind of enthusiasm and passion.
Clearly, you should never compromise on your honesty or your integrity. That means you never compromise on your opinions, either—not even to make a boss happy. Diplomacy is certainly crucial, but your job and your career are built on your smarts, your strengths, your vision of the world. It's likely you haven't been hired to say “yes”; you've been hired to offer your valuable insight. Be brave enough to always give it.
And if you're in a situation where your insights aren't considered valuable, you're not in the right job for you, in any way. Be true to yourself and your future, success, and career, and recognize when you need to move on.
Making a mistake at work is utterly terrifying. It's hard not to internalize it as failure, to be certain that you've ruined your career and lost respect. It can be incredibly embarrassing—but once you accept the fact that it happens, it's inevitable, and avoiding risks because you're terrified to make a mistake is no way to live, you'll find it incredibly, immensely freeing. When you make a mistake, you're eliminating possibilities until you discover the solution—and you'll be hailed a hero when you do. And in the process, you'll become a better, more brilliant, more creative, more interesting employee.
Goals are crucial for advancing, for improving, for growing both personally and professionally. Where do you want to go? Who do you want to be? You have business training; you've gotten your business degree—is it time for a master's degree in business? Is it time to switch tracks and do something new, exciting, boundary-stretching? Enroll in a property management program or take an art class or spend time in a writing workshop.
Grow your skill sets, learn how to look at your job, your career, your life, in a fresh new way. Revitalize your motivation, your enthusiasm, and remember why you wanted to be successful in the first place—and what success means to you now.