4 Skills for Thriving in our New Reality

In April 2019, Deloitte predicted that more than half of employees across all industries will require significant reskilling and upskilling in just three years. Today, figuring out new ways of working in the midst of a global pandemic has increased how many employees need to re/upskill while decreasing the time in which they need to do it.

The speed of learning is directly correlated with our ability to perform in this new reality.

And employees get it. We are taking control of our own development at unprecedented rates. In comparing hours of learning content consumed between the first week in January to the first week in April, LinkedIn Learning reports a 3x increase. Hot topics are working from home, managing stress, and resilience.

We wonder: what skills will we need as we return to work?

In a workplace forever transformed into one that is digital, distributed, data-driven, dynamic, and diverse, what human skills do we need to master so that we can empower each other to thrive?

Here are four skills we put at the top of the list.

  1. Fostering Trust: We know trust is essential to performance. The team at RedThread Research found trust to be one of the essential elements for responsive organizations. Building and maintaining trust in teams that are increasingly virtual and distributed brings unique challenges. Those who commit to doing this well will have a superpower.

  2. Cultivating Teaming: In response to emergent change, we will be required to work in teams on the fly more frequently. Amy Edmundson refers to this as teaming, which means “coordinating and collaborating with people across boundaries of all kinds--expertise, distance, time zone, you name it--to get work done.” Teaming requires nuanced approaches to communicating, collaborating, decision-making, problem-solving, and celebrating: all of which need to be learned.

  3. Redefining Productivity: When we share physical space with our colleagues, we see people working and equate that to being productive. When shared space turns virtual, time spent doing the work itself moves off screen where we no longer have line of sight. This leaves many leaders and team members questioning their colleagues’ productivity. But if we approach productivity as quality of output vs quantity of activity we create space for developing and rewarding behaviors that actually produce results.

  4. Leveraging the Power of the Ying & Yang: Research has long demonstrated that diverse organizations and teams outperform homogeneous ones. Stay-at-home orders have shed light on one powerful aspect of that diversity: our styles as introverts and extroverts. Introverts seem to be thriving under forced conditions of quiet, solitude, and introspection. Extroverts, who need the external stimulation provided by close proximity with others, may be feeling the impact of social distancing more acutely. We know introverts and extroverts need each other to thrive - they are the ying to each other’s yang. Leveraging the power of these complementary forces might be a game changer as we go forward in this new reality.

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