I've worked in many industries in numerous roles. In my opinion, the most important skills that have worked for me are: 1) The ability to be flexible and adapt to change. You need to constantly sharpen your skills, educate yourself, and be proactively prepared for change. Be willing to come in early or work late to take care of whatever needs to be done. Part of being flexible includes accepting feedback graciously. Don't get defensive. Don't take things personal. Focus on the behavior, not the person delivering the feedback. If you don't agree, ask the person to give you an example of the behavior. 2) The ability to effectively communicate. This includes communicating "up" to Leaders/Management as well as communicating with peers and subordinates. Always speak clearly and professionally with the appropriate diction and vocabulary. Never talk "down" to people--you never know who might be YOUR boss one day. Talk to people the way they want to be talked to, and recognize other people's communication style. 3) The ability to keep your personal life personal. Don't tell folks your business at work. Stay out of office gossip. If you have an issue with someone, go directly to them in private. Do not tell anyone else who can't resolve the problem. Many times, a one-on-one conversation is all it takes.
Odell Brown serves as Executive Director of Dallas ACAP. Nora O'Garro is the Director.