9 Essential Business Skills You Cannot Learn In School

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“Experience remains the best teacher human beings can have.”

Formal education is as important as business school teachings, but there are many skills business school and formal education can't teach. It takes experience to learn, master, and articulate some of these skills. That is why many entrepreneurs get better after years of being in business. Becoming a successful entrepreneur does not have to take years of studies in business school - many successful business people have never stepped inside a business school. Whether that rings a bell depends on how much value one places in polishing their skills, compared to spending years of tiresome work in the quest for success.

1. Having a Compassionate Heart

Many people hardly practice what they learned in their professional courses today. That doesn’t mean professional courses are a waste of time. Of course, education and training play a significant role in exposing individuals to the uncertainties of the business - but the determination in practicing what you’re passionate about is crucial. Many people struggle with burnout at their work places. Junior employees often get subjected to strenuous work. Many employees are on the verge of quitting their jobs. This can get attributed to poor pay and unreasonable working conditions.

Despite the suffering, these individuals want to have an impact in their careers. This suffering at the workplace can have a positive influence on the lives of employees, because it prepares them for future managerial posts. An employee who has experienced suffering before will treat his junior colleagues with sympathy and compassion. The skill of demonstrating consideration is not taught in any business school, and individuals and especially managers should learn to put themselves in the shoes of these employees. This enables them to treat them equitably, and with understanding. Mastering this skill takes time, but being able to execute it appropriately can enhance the relationship between the management and other departments.

2. Having a Clear Vision

Business is all about having a vision. Where do you want to be in the next 10 to 20 years? What strategies do you want to employ to achieve your goals? What are your objectives towards the business? What are you doing differently to ensure you accomplish them within the stipulated time? All this boils down to having a strong foundation and establishing the correct strategies. While business schools may instill the best skills in business-minded people, this is one that cannot be taught. Entrepreneurs need to think and then execute their thoughts to come up with a vision by which they intend to work.

This involves a lot of thinking, researching, consulting, and decision-making. A clear vision can get established when one is working in an environment conducive to this. People who venture into fields they are passionate about are likely to prosper in coming up with a clear vision about their businesses. In the end, they will emerge with experience that will help them succeed, and propel their businesses to greater heights.

3. Reading People

Being able to understand people is probably the most important aspect of business. Human interaction in the workplace is inevitable. People should be able to understand each other to avoid disagreements and conflicts, and obviously everyone comes with different characters and personalities.  

The art of reading and understanding people is self-taught. Begin by observing habits, body language, and reactions over time. Ask questions that require direct answers, and listen to their choice of words in the answers they provide. This can provide you with an insight into what they mean. Individuals should be prepared to accommodate one another to make the workplace a conducive space for everyone to work. It involves being able to treat each other with courtesy and kindness, as compared to criticizing them. Encouraging one another helps develop crucial skills which can boost the productivity of employees. This skill can be nurtured and perfected over time.

4. Handling Pressure

Employees are bound to experience stress in the workplace from time to time. The best way to handle pressure is to remain calm, and respond to situations as compared to reacting. When someone reacts, they tend to fight against an already in-progress situation, and this attitude may worsen the issue. But when someone responds, they take time to digest the situation first and handle it in a level-headed manner. One great way of handling pressure is to put the budding issues down on paper. More often than not, you will find the pressure tends to subside with each written sentence. Also, never handle situations in a state of anger.

5. Judging People

The art of correctly judging people is no mean feat. A simple way to judge people is by focusing on extrinsic markers such as their academic scores, job titles, social status or net worth. Today, social media provides an additional platform to learn and understand people, but this may give a biased story and cannot be sufficient. Intrinsic markers are more or less the things that define people, and they’re lacking on social media platforms. While skills can get taught, attitude and character cannot be. It explains why judging people from their softer side is not easy. To correctly judge people, you can come up with various strategies such as asking questions which can reveal the individual's personality. Try and understand how and why they do the things they do.

6. Intuition

Intuition is a skill present in everybody. It is the inner voice or feeling within the body which communicates the right path to follow. Intuition is said to be more in women than in men, but you have to respond to this skill to strengthen it. Individuals can develop their intuition through evaluating previous events where they did not utilize intuition. What was the outcome? Try and envision how different the situation would have turned out had you listened to your intuition. Meditation can help enhance this skill, as can asking colleagues or confidants for guidance in times of trouble.

7. Instincts

Instinct is a strong desire to do or achieve something. In business, having a strong idea that refuses to go away can be a clear indication of the direction you should follow. Business minded people can trust their instincts to develop through dedicating themselves to their work, following their interests, ignoring any laid down rules, and being flexible to change.

8. Common Sense

Common sense allows you to see the bigger picture, and enables you to complete duties appropriately in the workplace. Being able to identify the missing elements and working towards filling them defines common sense. The ultimate definition of common sense is the ability to complete whatever you have started. Every boss looks forward to having employees who are responsible enough to complete their duties without being pushed. Finally, being able to help one another in the workplace and working as a team enhances togetherness and creates an environment worth working in.

9. Integrity

Integrity is crucial to an individual's ultimate success in business. Integrity is your choice to commit yourself to general principles and values, regardless of your current situation. It all boils down to being able to stick to your principles, and doing the right thing in the quest to correct a wrong. The traits of integrity are honesty, conscience, empathy and compassion.

The skills outlined here can only be self-taught and enhanced within yourself. No business school has the curriculum to teach them. It is experience that helps mould and develop individuals who can interact with their colleagues better.

Some people start their business while at school, and eventually establish a multimillionaire company with time. Are you one of them, or do you know someone who might be one of them? Let us know in the comments below.

Posted 25 July, 2017

Ruchi Bhargava

Content Writing | Designing | Web Development

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