Top Skills You Need to Compete in Today's Workplace Share PINTEREST Email Print By Dawn Rosenberg McKay Dawn Rosenberg McKay Dawn Rosenberg McKay is a certified Career Development Facilitator. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 11/20/19 Whoever said, "it's a rat race out there" knew nothing about how competitive today's workplace would be. Rats have it easy! Make it through a maze, grab your treat, and you're done. It's not enough to be the best at what you do. Having the hard skills you need to excel at your occupation is a requirement, but being the best at your job won't help you win the race. Having competitive skillsthat employers value will. Let's take a look at what they are. 01 of 06 Stop Talking and Start Listening Jose Luis Pelaez Inc. / Blend Images / Getty Images Some people think they can talk their way to the top. Sharing your knowledge with others is important, but listening can benefit you in so many ways. You can learn a lot when you make an effort to understand what others are saying to you. As an active listener, you will gain insight into the real meaning of other people's—your boss's, coworkers and subordinates, and customers'—words. You will be able to understand what your boss expects of you, learn what motivates your coworkers and subordinates, and discover what your customers need from you. This essential skill will drastically improve your performance at work as it is instrumental in building rapport with others. 02 of 06 Solve Problems Instead of Complaining About Them Brand New Images / Stone / Getty Images Every workplace has its problems, and it's hard to avoid letting them bother you. Complaining about these nuisances won't help even a little bit. On the contrary, it will be harmful since negativity brings everyone down, and can quickly turn the environment toxic. You have nothing to gain from complaining, other than a reputation as a negative Ned or Nelly. If you find ways to solve problems instead of just pointing them out, you will be regarded as a hero to all but those who thrive on negativity. And who needs those people anyway? 03 of 06 Think Critically Kathrin Ziegler / Taxi / Getty Images When you are making a decision, you may be tempted to do so as swiftly as possible. After all, you have a lot to get done in a very short amount of time. The faster you can solve a problem or figure out how to reach a goal, the more quickly you can cross an item off your list and move on to the next thing. Although it may seem like a waste of your limited time to spend a lot of it considering all your choices when making a decision, you will be much more successful if you do. Your critical thinking skills will serve you well. Use them to evaluate each option before deciding which one is most likely to have the best outcome. 04 of 06 Be an Effective Time Manager Brand New Images / The Image Bank / Getty Images As a busy professional, your life is hectic. If you strive to move up at work, it will become even more frantic as your boss increases your responsibilities. How will you get everything done? If only you could add more hours to your day, sadly you can't. However, you can use the ones you have more efficiently. The ability to manage your time well is essential. It is one of the most competitive skills you can have. The only danger is that the more you get done in a day, the more your boss will give you to do. It's a risk you will have to live with as a result of your success. 05 of 06 Get Along With Everyone Buero Monaco / Taxi / Getty Images Considering all the different personalities that fill a workplace, your boss's expectation that everyone gets along with one another is quite a tall order. When you realize that getting along with your coworkers doesn't mean you have to like them all, it becomes a more achievable mandate. Excellent interpersonal skills will allow you to fulfill your boss's wish for harmony in the workplace. If you can empathize and sympathize with your coworkers, you will be able to avoid offending them. The ability to negotiate will help you avoid conflicts. To work as a team, which you will have to do for your workplace to function well, you must know how to coordinate your actions with them. 06 of 06 Show Them Who's the Leader Joseph Van Os / The Image Bank / Getty Images Finally, if you want to make it to the top, you will have to exhibit your leadership ability. You can't be a leader without followers, so the first thing you have to do is get people to respect and trust you enough to line up behind you. Show your boss you are management material by demonstrating that you can delegate work to others, and are willing to take responsibility for not only their successes but their failures as well.