Building a Stronger Team: How Workplace Culture Enhances Power Skills

The following is a guest post from Candace Coleman (CultureWise). Candace is a writer and editor with a background in publishing and public relations. 

Building a Stronger Team: How Workplace Culture Enhances Power Skills

By Candace Coleman

There’s a new heavyweight title in town. Sometimes called “soft skills,” the more muscular term now favored in business circles is “power skills.” That’s because these interpersonal capabilities greatly strengthen people’s work performance, helping them to collaborate more effectively and manage complex conditions. 

Consequently, power skills are vital to professional success; they’re not just nice-to-have extras. Critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and creativity fall in this skill category, and anyone who hones these abilities will scale the career ladder more confidently and quickly. 

The Power Skill Gap 

Universities have long been incubators of power skills. But graduates need to continue to polish these traits to be successful and often don’t get the support they need to master them on the job. Other workforce members perfected technical skills in vocational schools or real-life experiences that put them on their professional paths. But power-skill development is often overlooked in their training. 

This lapse is unfortunate because power skills benefit organizations as much as those working there. Still, many employers don’t recognize their organization’s role in helping people build these crucial qualities, so they don’t have a method to teach them. Companies often offer learning opportunities, but they’re usually only geared to helping people increase their “hard skills” or technical abilities. 

The Case for Power Skill Development 

While it’s helpful for employees to broaden their expertise in concrete areas, it’s not a perfect science because these competencies must constantly be updated as technology or market conditions evolve. In addition, many jobs dependent on specific hard skills are being usurped by machines or AI. 

On the other hand, power skills have an undiminishing impact. They don’t change or become obsolete, and technology can’t replace them. So with the proper guidance, people can continuously sharpen these crucial capabilities. 

Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center concluded that 85 percent of job success comes from having well‐developed power skills. Now, forward-thinking business leaders are grasping their impact and finding ways to help employees acquire these success boosters. 

10 Vital Power Skills for All Workers 

A wide variety of power skills with different degrees of nuance improve performance and outcomes. Some are more relevant to specific industries than others. But experts agree that a core group of these skills will help people succeed in any career. For example, CoachHub provides the following list of the ten most impactful power skills across all industries. 

1. Resilience

Workers who build resilience can pivot and adapt to change and unexpected circumstances. They are better prepared to withstand challenges, learn from them, and move forward.

2. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand your effect on others and managing yourself accordingly. Harvard Business Review cites research that demonstrates emotional intelligence substantially impacts organizational performance.

3. Problem Solving

People who polish this skill lean away from blame and focus on solutions. They can better analyze situations, make informed decisions, and productively take action.

4. Creativity

Some people innately possess this skill, but everyone is capable of developing their creativity to enhance their job. Workers who think creatively explore new and better ways to accomplish tasks and think outside the box to solve problems.

5. Assertiveness

This skill is the ability and courage to express feelings and thoughts respectfully and confidently with the intent to move things forward.

6. Stress Management

Stress management helps people withstand difficult situations without demonstrating hostility, bitterness, hopelessness, or negativity. They demonstrate grace under pressure and keep an even keel in fraught circumstances, which influences others to do the same.

7. Time Management

People who manage their time well work smarter, not harder, and accomplish more. They prioritize their work, don’t procrastinate, nail deadlines, and create a better work-life balance.

8. Empathy

The ability to think from others’ perspectives helps team members avoid or diffuse workplace misunderstandings and tensions. It aids in building relationships and trust, both essential for teamwork. 

9. Collaboration

Collaboration requires people to set aside egos and personal agendas and focus on what’s best for the team or organization. It involves high-level communication capabilities, embracing and incorporating others’ ideas, backing coworkers up, and sharing information.

10. Leadership

This is a critical skill for managers, but people can demonstrate leadership even if they don’t supervise others. It includes the ability to lead by example, encourage and motivate coworkers, and make effective decisions.

Using Workplace Culture to Build Power Skills 

A company’s culture is determined by the prevailing behaviors demonstrated by those who work there. So leaders who want to cultivate a supportive, high-performing culture consciously encourage the behaviors that will bring out the best in their staff. 

And since power skills are essentially behavioral skills, the most effective way for business leaders to help employees strengthen them is to infuse them into their organizational culture. 

Once they identify the behaviors or power skills they want their staff to develop, leaders should cultivate an environment where these traits are regularly coached, practiced, and discussed. They should become part of the organization’s vocabulary and be encouraged as individual and team goals. 

Employers who build up their team’s power skills will reap big dividends. As the author of an article for Alliance Career Training Solutions notes: 

“Power skills are the game-changing, X-factor-like skills and qualities that can take an employee, a team, a department, or an entire company from ‘sufficient’ or ‘good’ to ‘superb’ and ‘excellent.’” 

Once power skills are rooted in their company, leaders will find they are the most reliable predictors for success, growth, longevity, retention, workplace happiness, and positive organizational outcomes. 

Inova Staffing Insights

Team-HS-DanDan Barnett, President & CEO of Inova Staffing, says:

In the fast-paced business world, "power skills" have taken center stage, surpassing what has traditionally been known as "soft skills." These essential interpersonal capabilities, including critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, empower individuals for success by enhancing collaboration and adaptability. However, many graduates and workers lack adequate support in honing these skills on the job, making it crucial for organizations, including staffing agencies like ours, to actively promote their development within workplace culture. By emphasizing these timeless skills and infusing them into our team's goals and vocabulary, we can build a stronger workforce and provide clients with exceptional talent, fostering long-term success for both individuals and organizations.

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