Skills You Need For Success

Skills You Need For Success

October 8, 2014
Business Skills

Retail dietitians often ask us about business skills that are most important to master to prepare for promotions and advanced career opportunities in retail. This is an important question to consider, no matter where you are in your career.  But are there skills you need to master regardless of your job title? Leadership development consultants Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman think so. In a Harvard Business Review blog post, Zenger and Folkman report on data that found there are certain qualities and skills that no mater what your job title.

It’s not enough, for example, that a lower level manager should focus only on driving for results while top executives should only focus on developing a strategic perspective. These are true to an extent, but just like an athlete who continues to practice and develop the same skills throughout their entire career, in business we must practice and hone our skills to get better and better at our jobs.  So, if you are a store level dietitian, it's important to think beyond simply implementing the day-to-day components of the corporate health and wellness plan.  Think bigger—understand the broader business strategy of this plan, how your work at the store level contributes to the success of this plan, and how your key learnings at the store level can inform the evolution of the plan (and be sure to share these learnings and your point of view with your supervisor!).

So, is there a set of skills fundamental to every level? To find out, Zenger and Folkman compiled a dataset in which they surveyed 332,860 bosses, peers, and subordinates on what skills have the greatest impact on a leader’s success in the position the respondents currently hold. Each respondent selected the top four competencies out of a list of 16 provided.

They found that there was a remarkable consistency in the data about which skills were perceived as most important in all four levels of the organization measured.

The top seven skills:

  • Inspires and motivates others
  • Displays high integrity and honesty
  • Solves problems and analyzes issues
  • Drives for results
  • Communicates powerfully and prolifically
  • Collaborates and promotes teamwork
  • Builds relationships

Executives at every organizational level, respondents reported, need a balance of these competencies.  Which suggests that as people move up the organization, the fundamental skills they need will not dramatically change.  How are you measuring up on these seven skills?

The takeaway for retail dietitians? No matter what where you are on the organizational chart of your retailer, the top seven skills identified above are the most critical for you to master because they are important throughout your career, regardless of your "level."  These skills will help you be successful in your current position and they'll set you up for advancement opportunities—demonstrating those skills in your current job provides evidence that you will be successful in the next job.

To read up more on these skills and this research, visit: