Breedlove's Briefing: How to Know Which Skills to Develop at Each Stage of Your Career

May 13 - Stephanie Breedlove

Hi! I’m Stephanie Breedlove, Co-Founder of HomePay, Author and Angel Investor.

I absolutely adore taking an idea and giving it life in the form a business, then leading it to its full potential. Nothing is more fun. (Seriously!) I’d love for every woman who wants to start her own business to say the same thing, so here I am, mentoring millennial entrepreneurs. When I’m not working, I like to recharge and head outdoors to hike, bike, or stand up paddle board!

Is that list of business news and trending articles you’ve tagged still unread? I get it. Allow me to help. Take a couple minutes to read my summary of articles serving the most pertinent, actionable business topics. Or, take 10 minutes to read the full article, and put another brick on the foundation of your growing career.

This Week’s Must-Read:

How to Know Which Skills to Develop at Each Stage of Your Career

Who it’s for:

We all want to grow our careers, so this is for all of you.

Why it’s important:

By mid-career, the hard skills that got you the job won’t be the ones that get you promoted. But what no one tells you is that while you might’ve been initially hired for those hard skills, they gradually matter less. The further you get in your career, the less you’ll be evaluated on those same skills – and this is especially important once you reach your mid-career point. Here’s how to grow.

Shift Toward Soft Skills…

Improving your technical skills may be enough to get you promoted from level one to two, or from coordinator to associate - but to advance into management, you’ll have to show improvement in the soft skills.

So how do you do that?

The secret is to progressively invest more in your ability to get things done, your leadership abilities and your likeability at work (like it or not). Take a minute to assess where you stand in each of these categories:

  1. Ability to Get Things Done. Can you…
    Work independently and collaboratively
    Resolve conflict
    Meet deadlines
    Produce quality work

    2. Leadership. Are you…
    Mentoring others on the team
    Volunteering to lead projects and represent the team
    Participating in external industry events
    Taking on more than is asked of you

    3. Likeability. Have you...
    Built a reputation as a great mentee, collaborator, leader
    Cultivated strong relationships with your manager
    Gained visibility for your work beyond your manager’s eyes

Here’s a game plan for growing soft skills:

  1. Self assess. When taking stock of your recent work and workplace habits, which areas do you feel strongest in? Weakest in? Knowing the answers to these questions will help frame the conversation with your manager in the next step.
  2. Discuss with your manager: Now it’s time to get on the same page. Work with your boss to determine what’s most important for you to learn now versus in the future.
  3. Explore ways of growing these softer skills in your current job. This growth may be closer at hand than you think. What opportunities for collaboration and leadership might already exist? What are some avenues for taking on more responsibility in these areas? Brainstorm opportunities and check in with your manager on them.

Top Take-Away: Are you hungry to take the next step in your career, but don’t know what that means exactly? Most likely, you’re trying to understand that it’s time to shift from honing hard skills to growing soft skills. You have to grow leadership skills, just like you grew those technical skills.

Hungry for more on skill growth and leadership? These should satisfy:

7 Absolutely Certain Ways to Grow as a Leader

Growing Strong Leadership Skills: What Makes a Great Leader

How to Identify and Develop Soft Skills

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