At Catalyst Development, when we teach career skills, we base all of our trainings around intentional skill building in several important areas.
Soft skills. Power skills. People skills. Career skills. All just different words to say the same things. These are skills that are critical no matter where we are in our careers. At Catalyst Development, we call them Career and Power skills. We lean into these skills for all of our clients, whether they are still early in their career or a seasoned executive. While each of these skills are important on their own, we have put them in different buckets and usually teach them in sessions to make them more impactful.
The career and power skill buckets are broken out below:
Lead-How do you lead?
Engage-How do you communicate?
- Active listening
Accept-How do you belong?
- Psychological safety
- Unconscious bias
- Raising awareness
- Being diversity brave
- Cultural Intelligence
- Cultural Inclusion
Develop-How do you work with others?
- Analysis/logical reasoning
- Lateral thinking
- Interpersonal skills
Effective-How do you get it done?
- Goal setting
- Decision making
- Collaboration/Idea exchange
Resilient-How do you pivot?
- Stress management/Coping
We have found that when our clients intentionally work on these vital career skills, they can take their work to the next level. Keep in mind that you can be proficient in some areas and need work in others. To be a strong leader, it is important be self-aware enough to work on all of them.
Career skills at all levels and stages
Another thing we have learned is that these skills are powerful to us at all stages of life. It’s highly beneficial to have even a basic understanding of these skills when you’re just starting out in your early career. They will help you make more deliberate moves in your development and build good relationships. Once a person hits what we call the emerging leaders stage, where they are starting to catch stride in their career, leaning into these career skills can elevate them amongst their peers and prepare them for stretch responsibilities.
The next career stage is mid-career. At Catalyst Development, we like to call these folks strategic leaders. The caution at this stage is that it can also be known as the “frozen middle.” It’s the place in your career where you’re responsible for your team, but you’re not the ultimate decision-maker. Depending on the organization, you can get caught in the middle of what your people need and what the executive team will provide. Mastering your career and power skills can help you manage up and down to build relationships as a whole.
The senior/executive leader level is the one I find doing the least intentional skill-building work. It’s understandable. This group has a massive responsibility to run the business, develop their people, and ultimately keep the doors open. As I speak to people at this level, I find two different types. There are those who feel like, “I’ve got it. I am here at the top, what more can I learn?” Then there is the group that says “I want and need to be life-long learner, but I don’t know how to build my career skills or if I have time to get it done.”
No matter where you are in our career and power skills journey, you can always get better. Even if it is 30 minutes a day of intentional reflection, practice, and learning, it’s better than staying where you are and not growing! Connect with us on LinkedIn for lots of opportunities to grow, which we share regularly.
For a deeper dive, learn more about the Catalyst Development L.E.A.D.E.R.s. program that focuses on building all these skills at each stage and level. We know you’ll make huge gains no matter what your stage or level!
Dr. Katie Ervin is the founder and CEO of Catalyst Development. She has contributed to Brainz Magazine and the Forbes Business Council. She is currently writing her first book.