20 Areas for Improvement for Employees

One of the most common questions we hear from the younger audience is what skills should they work on to help make life easier in the future. It’s a great question but as we grow older and gain experience, we stop asking ourselves this question, forgetting that there’s still much to learn.

In this spirit of self-improvement, the OpenSimSim team asked ourselves what areas do we still need to improve in and how we plan on doing that. Below are our results: 20 most important areas for improvement for employees.

1. Retrospection

The easiest way to learn is to look at our past, recall the actions that worked and those that did not. We might realize the consequences of past actions and be able to improve ourselves or reap the benefits, either way, looking in the past is valuable and if you don’t do this already or not frequently enough, you might want to.

2. Self-Awareness

Bob Wall in his book “Coaching for Emotional Intelligence” writes “self-awareness and self-control is the keystone of emotional intelligence”. He urges employees to recognize their strengths and weaknesses. It’s hard to find faults in one’s own self but it can be done by trying new things and make a mental note of how we react and behave to these stimuli.

3. Self-Control

Once we become self-aware, we can try and control how we behave and control ourselves in tough situations. For example, it’s easy to lose your temper in a tense moment but it’s the last thing you want to do in a professional setting. Try to remember the mental notes you make of your behavior.

4. Guiding Principles

Every line of business has certain principles that can help guide your thinking so you can make the right call. In a business setting principles are not rules or readymade solutions but guidelines that you can apply to any situation and find what’s right for yourself.

5. Listening

Maybe you’ve heard it before but listening is not the same as hearing. Listening involves an active and conscious attempt to understand the meaning of the message while taking into account the disturbances or barriers that might distort the actual meaning.

6. Conversing

Being clear and concise in your language is of paramount importance in any professional setting. Many employees struggle at getting to the point, either because of anxiety or because they get distracted. However, time is of the essence and you should practice conversing with others without getting carried away. One trick I’ve found useful is to think in advance what you will be speaking.

7. Focus

Almost every employee, in an office or not, has wasted time at some point in their lives. It’s true. But there is a point when this lack of focus becomes hurtful to yourself and to your career. In order to improve your focus, we advise you to work only on a single task at a time and avoid multitasking.

8. Planning

Planning saves time, money, and effort. But many of my colleagues struggle with planning and thinking ahead, and sometimes I do too. Plan ahead by taking down notes of what you need to do and organize your schedule to get the most of your day.

9. Understanding Others’ Perspective

You’re going to work with people from different and very diverse backgrounds – their education, upbringing, culture, etc. You need to realize that everyone is different and you need to treat them as such. Understanding fosters great relationships.

10. Reading the Room

Another very important emotional intelligence skill that is hard to master is accessing your environment. The thing is, there is no easy way of doing this, if you want to become better at what’s going on around you, you’ll have to invest your time and energy in not only learning not only about yourself but about others as well, how they react and behave. Once you do this, you’ll start to see patterns in how people with similar characteristics act in the same way.

11. Accepting Feedback

Accepting feedback does not mean simply listening to it but rather incorporating what was told in your workflow. I’ve found that trying to understand the meaning and the “why” behind the feedback helps me immensely in seeing my strengths and weaknesses.

12. Giving Feedback

As easy as it may sound, giving constructive feedback that can be used by your colleagues or even the manager is actually complicated, especially when you want to ensure that the feedback is neither too vague nor too harsh.

13. Skill Application

You’ve just learned a new skill, a new software perhaps but you feel that there is no use for this skill. But maybe there is, it’s just explicit or right there in front of you. Be innovative and think about how you can incorporate new skills to improve effectiveness and efficiency.

14. Policymaking

There may not be many scenarios where you would need to draft new policies or asked to help improve existing ones but this is an important area to work on because I assume you’re not planning on staying in your current position forever and you might need this skill later.

15. Teamwork

It’s hard to work in an environment with opposing views but if you can learn to understand them, opinions can be invaluable.

16. Decision-Making

Condemned to be free, that is, it’s often easier when someone else makes your decisions for you. But it’s not always the best. Learn to critically analyze your actions and their consequences to make better decisions.

17. Staying Organized

There is a place and time for everything. Keep everything organized so that when the need arises, you’ll have all the tools you need at your disposable.

18. Managing Time

24 hours might seem a lot but it’s not. Consider dividing your time into blocks of 10 minutes and then spend those 10 minutes blocks judiciously. Read more about the 100 Blocks a Day technique.

19. Setting SMART goals.

Having a hard time setting and achieving goals? Try out SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relative, and Time-Based. All your goals should have these characteristics.

20. Understanding Yourself

If you’re going to improve any aspect of your personal or professional life, you need to start by understanding where you stand right now and where you plan on going next, that is, you need to figure out the start and end points before you can map a route.

The list started with you looking back into your past and ends with you better understanding yourself. Full circle.


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