As we discussed in part one of the series, the term Power Skills encompasses both the personal effectiveness and workplace skills needed for professional success. To differentiate between the subsets of personal effectiveness skills, we define personal skills as those that are specific to the individual. On the other hand, people skills refer to how an individual interacts with others.

The characteristics of personal effectiveness are important not just in day-to-day life, but in relationships with friends, family and colleagues, and in relation to the attitude and ownership one takes over one's own work. In short, personal effectiveness describes how employees holistically "show up" for the job. In this post, we'll break down each subset and their role in creating an engaged and productive workplace.

Personal Skills: Integrity, Dependability, Adaptability

Integrity: An important skill for both personal and professional life, integrity refers to the core internal principles that empower individuals to consistently act with high standards " even when no one is watching. Integrity manifests itself through behavior such as demonstrating respect for company time and property and accepting responsibility for decisions and actions. Unfortunately, a recent SHRM survey of HR professionals reports that 43% of job applicants over the last 12 months lacked professionalism and work ethic.1 With such a shortage reported, employers are challenged to find workers who will bring their "best self" to work and make good decisions for the company.

Dependability: A dependable employee displays responsible behavior in the workplace, complying with organizational policies and following verbal and written directions. Employers need workers who are accountable to one another, completing what they commit to doing consistently and dependably, even when unmonitored. Particularly important for prospective managers, employers should foster dependability to allow for employee retention and internal growth.

Adaptability: Adaptable employees have the ability to adjust to new, different or changing situations. They are workers who are able to adjust rapidly to make a deadline and pick up new skills as technology evolves or processes change. However, adaptability and flexibility do not come naturally to all. According to Gallup, employees who are both engaged and have high well-being are 45% more likely to report high levels of adaptability in the presence of change, highlighting the importance of companies investing time in engaging their employees.2  

People Skills: Communication & Teamwork

Communication: Communication is the cornerstone of collaboration, but a vast majority of employees are not actually trained in effective workplace communications. In fact, 96% of executives cite lack of collaboration and poor communication for workplace failures.3 Employees who are good communicators tend to deliver better experiences to customers, improving customer loyalty and boosting sales. On the flip side, having a workforce that cannot make decisions, work with customers, and talk to people will have a dramatically negative impact on the success of the business.

Teamwork: An employees' ability to collaborate and effectively work with others is paramount to getting projects done and creating a positive work environment for the entire workforce. Teamwork also encompasses interacting professionally and building constructive working relationships, forming an integral part of a company's brand. While 75% of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as "very important," only 18% of employees get communication evaluations at their performance reviews.4 Making communication part of the continuous dialogue and development with employees can lay the groundwork for improved collaboration.

Personal effectiveness skills make workers more valuable to their employers. Such skills are not only important qualifications for employees to do their jobs, but they are also key qualities for employers to cultivate in prospective managers and specialists. Organizations that aim to help youth and young professionals succeed should consider ways to get their participants into the habit of exercising personal effectiveness skills on a daily basis. Ultimately, it is not just about recruiting the best people for the organization, but helping them grow.


In part three of the series, we will explore the workplace competencies required to be successful in some of the highest growth industries in the country.


Recommended for you: Developing a Career-Ready Workforce, Part 1: Understanding Power Skills and their Role in the Workplace

Sources: Photo credit. (1) SHRM: The New Talent Landscape (2) Gallup: Well-Being Enhances Benefits of Employee Engagement (3) Cisco: The Workplace of the Future (4) 7 Workplace Collaboration Statistics That Will Have You Knocking Down Cubicles