We’ve asked a diverse group of professionals, from psychology experts to CEOs, about the one skill that has significantly impacted their career. From empathy enhancing client understanding to coding skills improving business analysis and leadership, here are the 12 insightful responses we received. These skills have not only shaped their careers but also offer valuable lessons for anyone looking to enhance their professional growth. Here are 12 career-impacting skills you should learn.

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  • Empathy Enhances Client Understanding
  • Research Skills Boost Critical Thinking
  • Effective Communication Propels Career Success
  • Active Listening Fosters Professional Growth
  • Time Management Fuels Career Progression
  • Delegation and Team Recognition Drive Leadership
  • Adaptability Thrives Amidst Career Uncertainty
  • Self-Compassion Battles Burnout, Boosts Resilience
  • Focus and Commitment Foster Entrepreneurial Success
  • Public Speaking Expands Professional Horizons
  • Patience Paves the Way for Success
  • Coding Skills Enhance Business Analysis and Leadership

Empathy Enhances Client Understanding

In my entrepreneurial journey, one skill that has been crucial is empathy, forming the core of my coaching business. This ability to genuinely understand and reflect my clients’ feelings empowers me to create content that deeply resonates, respond effectively to their concerns, and support relationships that are robust and meaningful. 

It’s as if empathy allows me to tune directly into their needs, delivering personalized support on their path toward personal development and well-being. Importantly, this skill continues to evolve through practical application in daily client interactions, navigating their emotional highs and lows. 

So, here’s my advice—work on your empathy. It’s more than just being considerate; it’s about truly understanding people, enabling you to serve their needs more effectively.

Bayu Prihandito, Psychology Expert, Life Coach, Founder, Life Architekture

Research Skills Boost Critical Thinking

Strong research skills are an asset to any career path. For instance, in the marketing world, I utilize this skill in many areas of my day-to-day—from researching our consumer base to diving into the literature on a particular subject. This practice teaches you to think critically and gather multiple sources before making conclusions.

Lyudmyla Dobrynina, Head of Marketing, Optimeal

Effective Communication Propels Career Success

One skill that has had a significant impact on my career is my communication prowess. Being able to effectively convey ideas and messages has been a game-changer for me. 

Studies have shown that strong communication skills can boost productivity by up to 25% and increase customer satisfaction by 50%. Whether it’s crafting persuasive copy or collaborating with clients and colleagues, my ability to articulate thoughts clearly and concisely has helped me excel. 

In fact, research indicates that 85% of job success comes from having well-developed communication skills. Just like a smooth-talking maestro, I’ve honed my communication skills to captivate audiences and build strong professional relationships. It’s a skill that has opened doors, impressed clients, and propelled my copywriting career to new heights.

Himanshu Sharma, CEO and Founder, Academy of Digital Marketing

Active Listening Fosters Professional Growth

One skill that has significantly impacted my career is mastering the art of active listening. This involves entirely focusing on the speaker, understanding their message, responding thoughtfully, and remembering key points.

In team meetings, one-on-one conversations, or client interactions, active listening has allowed me to build strong relationships, understand different perspectives, and make informed decisions.

Remember, communication is not just about speaking; effective listening is equally, if not more, essential. It’s a skill that can significantly enhance your professional interactions and career growth.

Madhurima Halder, Content Manager, Recruit CRM

Time Management Fuels Career Progression

Mastering time management has been a career-defining skill for me. The ability to prioritize tasks, allocate time effectively, and eliminate distractions has drastically increased my productivity. It’s helped me meet deadlines, reduce stress, and achieve a better work-life balance, which all have contributed to my career progression.

Dilruba Erkan, Consultant, Morse Decoder

Delegation and Team Recognition Drive Leadership

For a long time while developing and growing my business, I was pretty much working on my own. That unconsciously enforced in me a habit of doing everything related to leadership on my own, be it recruitment and employee management, marketing, client engagement—even dealing with clients personally. 

All of this did get too much, and it was only when I looked at the business growth that I realized I’m going about it the wrong way. No leader can do it on their own, and in fact, they shouldn’t do it on their own. 

Instead of trying to be an expert for everything, it’s better to rope in the experts and let them guide you or take over some aspects of management themselves. It’s also better to recognize the strengths of your team and harness them to play a bigger role in business development.

Manasvini Krishna, Founder, Boss as a Service

Adaptability Thrives Amidst Career Uncertainty

Adaptability is a skill that has significantly impacted my career. In today’s ever-changing business landscape, being adaptable allows professionals to thrive amidst uncertainty and take advantage of emerging opportunities. 

One example of how adaptability influenced my career is when my company underwent a major reorganization. Instead of resisting the change, I quickly adapted by acquiring new skills and embracing a different role within the organization. This flexibility not only ensured my job security but also positioned me as a valuable asset to the company. 

By being adaptable, I have demonstrated resilience, problem-solving abilities, and a willingness to step out of my comfort zone. These qualities have led to new projects, promotions, and increased responsibilities, ultimately propelling my career forward.

Yoana Wong, Co-founder, Secret Florists

Self-Compassion Battles Burnout, Boosts Resilience

After our daughter’s diagnosis of Leukemia in January 2022, my life changed at every level.  Navigating the role of Chief People Officer, continuing to find a creative outlet with a nationally syndicated podcast, leading a team in a medical services company, showing up as a wife, mom, and daughter was leaving me feeling like a complete failure in all aspects of my life.

While researching the topic of burnout and mental health for my podcast, I came across the work of Kristin Neff and her focus on self-compassion.  The shift to asking for and taking needed space, radical prioritization, and mindfulness allowed me to forgive myself on the days that didn’t go as planned and celebrate small successes.  

This shift has allowed me to show up as a better human in all aspects of my life and career.  I now integrate these elements into my work as a leader as well as providing these learnings to our employees to reduce burnout and increase resilience.

Stacie Baird, Chief People Officer, Community Medical Services

Focus and Commitment Foster Entrepreneurial Success

The single most useful skill I’ve learned is the ability to sit down and work uninterrupted for 3-4 hours per day. I only check emails at the beginning and end of the day. In the afternoon, I block off my calendar. I work away from my workstation so that no one knows where I am. I usually respond to instant messages within 10 minutes, since most people would have solved their own problems by then. These steps increased my productivity by a factor of five or more.

In my opinion, you can only pursue a goal fiercely if your entire focus is on it and only it. Focus and sheer commitment have allowed me to become a successful entrepreneur and build companies from scratch. 

Until now, I always keep it a habit to stay focused even with the most petty tasks, as this will propel me to achieve my goals and reach even greater heights.

Jonathan Merry, Founder, Moneyzine

Public Speaking Expands Professional Horizons

I guess I’m not the only one who believes that individuals should be able to convince people and present their ideas properly. The correct way of speaking and presenting information can stimulate the rapid growth of the audience.

I came to the conclusion that the skill of finding a common language and speaking in public greatly expands your horizons and develops mental flexibility. Invitations as a guest to YouTube podcasts and filming in interviews helped me a lot in the development of much-needed public performance skills. 

It definitely had a considerable impact on my career and further attitude toward project development. A nice bonus is that during these events I not only improved my public speaking skills but also shared the idea of my startup, spurring interest in it.

David Kemmerer, Co-founder and CEO, CoinLedger

Patience Paves the Way for Success

The skill that I learned that has most impacted my career is the skill of patience. In my career, I have learned that you can never rush success; you have to be patient and wait for the right moment. Sometimes, you will be so close to achieving your goal, and it will seem as if you are on the verge of achieving it, but then something happens and you have to be patient again and wait for the right moment.

Life is a journey, and if you want to go fast, you will miss the journey. If you want to achieve success, you have to be patient and wait for the right moment. This skill has helped me a lot in my career because sometimes I get impatient and want to achieve success right away, but this causes me to make mistakes that hurt my career. 

By learning the skill of patience, I have been able to achieve success in my career and life.

Luciano Colos, Founder and CEO, PitchGrade

Coding Skills Enhance Business Analysis and Leadership

I am not a tech guy by profession so coding scared me before. However, one of my colleagues encouraged me to learn this because he knows how it can help in running a business. 

Learning how to code allowed me to perform my own data analysis on market trends, as well as on our business data. It has allowed me to have a deeper analysis of what is going on in our business and perform simulations to identify the best scenarios for us. Hence, it not only improved my analytical skills but also my leadership and decision-making skills.

Jeff Moore, CEO, Everyday Power