10 Key Human Skills for Success

Identifying the Top Human Skills for Career Success 

For the past 15 years I have been developing classes and delivering coaching that focuses on topics related to Human Skills. Given that there is such a wide variety of Human Skills topics, I am often asked which one is the most important. Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to narrow that answer down to one specific skill. However, while most Human Skills are very important, it is possible to provide an overview of those Human Skills that I find to be the most impactful. These skills also happen to be what most employers are looking for in both new and tenured employees. 

Critical Communication Skills 

It’s self-evident as to why this Human Skill is on the list, as our communication skills are front and center in all the interactions we have with all the people we connect with. Whether it’s acing a job interview, negotiating a deadline with your boss, or delivering a sales pitch to a customer, the way you communicate is on full display.  

This is a huge Human Skills topic in and of itself, with many sub-categories. Whether it’s face-to-face, text messaging, email, or conference calling, there are some aspects of communication that rise to the top in terms of importance. Some of these most important aspects include Active Listening, Confidence, Empathy, Clarity, Friendliness, and Responsiveness.  

The reason this skill is so important to employers is that the effectiveness of every employee typically hinges on that employee’s ability to communicate well. The success of a brilliant employee with incredible insights and knowledge will be compromised if they are not able to articulate that insight and knowledge clearly and persuasively. A salesperson that understands every nuance and competitive advantage of a product will not be successful if they can’t deliver that information to a potential customer. There is a reason this Human Skill topic has been prefaced with the adjective “critical.” 

Growth Mindset

Ever since Carol Dweck published an article on Growth Mindset in 1975, the related concepts have consistently gained momentum, especially in the corporate world. A person with a Growth Mindset, loves learning new skills, looks at failures as growth opportunities, and routinely pushes themselves outside their comfort zone to attain additional talents.  

Corporations have placed increasing emphasis on hiring new employees and rewarding existing employees who exhibit these Growth Mindset traits. Becoming an expert in a specific area is admirable, but all too often the expert will, over time, retreat into an environment where they focus exclusively on the expert skill set and they stop growing. I personally have fallen into this trap at past points in my career by spending too long in a role that I had mastered. Adopting and deploying a Growth Mindset is a lifelong journey and it has become a common corporate requirement for those looking to expand their career success.

growth mindset for professional success

Conflict Management / Resolution 

Conflict in the workplace isn’t necessarily common but, when it does occur, the consequences can be severe. Think back to a time when you either witnessed or was involved in a situation where work colleagues were in a state of conflict. This conflict can introduce mistrust, anger, finger-pointing, frustration, low productivity, and a slew of other negative circumstances into the work environment.  

Employers recognize the potential damage this type of conflict can create. Accordingly, they diligently look to hire and reward those employees who can navigate and extinguish conflict before it wreaks this degree of harm. Those employees who possess the skills of negotiation, empathy, mediation, and conflict resolution are highly sought after and frequently are given leadership opportunities. 

conflict management for teams and leaders

Teamwork and Collaboration 

The typical work environment is comprised of many employees who have different roles, but who share an overarching collective goal. The results achieved when this group of employees works as a team are dramatically enhanced. When communication, respect, and consideration for all team members is placed at the forefront of the decision making and performance processes, business results can’t help but increase.  

In the business environment, this type of teamwork helps create an environment that not only fosters innovation and creativity, but also job satisfaction. Because of this, employers are looking for employees that have a strong drive for teamwork and collaboration. Some of the skills associated with this include, as was previously mentioned, conflict resolution and mediation. Another hallmark of those who are good team players are those who take accountability for their actions and results. 



Leadership is another Human Skills topic that takes up a lot of space. There are countless books, articles, and trainings that have been developed that seek to teach leadership skills and instill a leadership mentality. The reason so much content exists on this topic is in direct correlation to the importance and impact of leadership in the workplace.  

Effective leaders inspire those they interact with, including both direct reports and peers, to achieve greatness. They set a clear vision, show how to achieve that vision, and drive a high level of accountability and exceptional job performance.   

Those who possess this Human Skill are highly sought after and are seen as a critical component of a successful workplace. Having been in people management roles for over 25 years, I have seen countless first-hand examples of how those with leadership skills are able to fast-track their careers and accelerate their professional growth opportunities.  


Employers want employees that can not only identify problems, but who also identify the solutions to those problems. Organizational health is significantly increased when those in that organization are able to understand problematic issues, uncover the causes to the issues, and then identify solutions to the issues.  

I once managed a team of account managers in an organization that had implemented a new policy requiring everyone to begin logging their labor on an hour-by-hour basis. This new policy created a very unwelcome and unpopular burden to my team, and it didn’t take long for them to start voicing their displeasure with the new policy. Through this process it was easy to make a strong distinction between those who came to my office simply to complain as compared to those who came to my office with a problem-solving mentality. The problem-solvers recommended process improvements, the creation of training on the new process, and they even ended up creating tools and apps to lessen the burden.  

With that example, it’s easy to see how the Problem-Solving Human Skill is a valuable commodity to any workplace or business organization. Critical thinking, analysis, strategic thinking, and initiative are all hallmarks of this powerful Human Skill.  

problem solving for business success


The rate of change and technological advancement in today’s workplace seems to be increasing almost exponentially. To manage this rapid change and to stay relevant, it is critical that employees adapt quickly and embrace change. Employees with the Adaptability Human Skill stay ahead of the curve and adjust to changing circumstances.  

Setbacks, mistakes, and challenges occur in every work environment. Those organizations that are staffed with employees that are adaptable can bounce back from these circumstances quickly. These organizations also enjoy a tangible advantage in the typical hyper-competitive business landscape. You’ve probably also noticed that this Human Skills is a close relative to the Growth Mindset Human Skill. 

human skills courses and programs

If you’d like to find out more about how to enhance important career-oriented human skills for yourself or your team, please do get in touch. At SkillUp Online, we know the difference that strong Human Skills can make to a professional’s career, and you can benefit from that too. 

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