Talent & Tech Asia Summit 2024
5 soft skills to help future-proof your career

5 soft skills to help future-proof your career

As we move back to the office, the importance of relationships and connection will continue to be important. Cholena Orr, Graduate Programme Manager, ANZ urges us to build this skill by learning how to adapt our communication style for our audience.

Most of us experienced some kind of disruption in 2020, and as we return to work in 2021 it’s natural for us to step back and reflect both as individuals and as leaders about what skills are important for our professional development, and how we go about developing them in our teams.

The skills that we developed over the last 12 months can help set us up for success in our career for years to come. As we move into our post pandemic careers, there are five key areas of focus which are likely to be helpful to develop our careers.

1. Relationship building and networking

What we have learned during lockdown is how important relationships are, and the importance of connecting. As we move back to the office, the importance of relationships and connection will continue to be important. You can develop these skills by challenging yourself to learn how to adapt your communication style for your audience, by having an interest in people and taking time to understand their perspectives by asking great questions.

2. Resilience

Personal resilience helped us in 2020 to face into challenges that come up in our daily work and personal lives including responding to market conditions, increased workloads that came from additional and changing customer needs.
To develop personal resilience, approach self-care as a discipline.

Activities like downtime, exercise and meditation should be non-negotiable in the knowledge that being deliberate about having a rich personal life outside of work - for instance by regularly taking annual leave - helps us to be better problem solvers, relationship builders and improve our overall ability to manage challenging situations.

3. Curiosity

We look for people who are curious as they’re more likely to seek out diverse views and data when solving customer problems. Developing a curious mindset helps us to challenge ourselves and others to try new and better ways to achieve goals, and to think about why things are the way they are.

Curiosity can be developed by challenging yourself to look at creative ways to look at and solve problems. Be proactive by asking for feedback from colleagues and customers and be open to learning from failure. One of the best ways to develop curiosity is by developing the habit of asking questions like “tell me more about that”, “why do you think that happens”?

4. Growth mindset

At ANZ, we believe that cultivating a growth mindset helps us to learn, grow and adapt. This concept, founded by Professor Carol Dweck, encourages us to create a safe environment to experiment with new ideas, and to understand that everyone can grow with purposeful effort.

What we learned in 2020, was that the people who were most successful where those who were intentional about actively listening, learning and adapting to respond to the challenges presented over the year.

A strong growth mindset helps us to be willing to see things differently and keep our mind open, and our eye out for new ways to solve problems. You can cultivate a growth mindset by challenging yourself to focus on effort, not just outcome, by looking at setbacks and failures as opportunity to learn and by celebrating and learning from the success of others.

5. Strong values starting with integrity

At ANZ we consider strong values as a 'ticket to play' in our organisation. Our values influence our actions which then lead to stronger trusted relationships, and to better results. We need employees who always act with integrity. That means being honest and fair and making thoughtful, balanced decisions. We need people who will do what’s right and act with courage.

Strong values will always be relevant, and in 2021, particularly within banking these are critical.

You can develop strong values yourself by learning how to take a systematic approach to making decisions to ensure all possible aspects are considered, and ensure that you place a high importance on delivering on commitments and persisting when completing tasks. Taking time to reflect on our daily activities, learn from both our successes and failures, and plan helps us to deliver on our purpose and strategy and continue to be values driven.

Where do I start?

When we set development goals with our early talent, we encourage individuals to focus on one-three goals at a time over one-three months at a time depending on the development goal. Focus on leveraging your key areas of strength and improving on your key areas of development. Not sure where to start? Ask your colleagues and clients for feedback! It’s all about being proactive.

About the author: 
As a member of the ANZ Talent and Culture team, Cholena supports the Graduate and Summer Internship Programme,  Indigenous Recruitment, People with Disabilities, and Women in Leadership. The ‘Supporting You in Your Career’ squad supports ANZ team members as they transition out of ANZ and move on to become ANZ alumni. 

Photo / Cholena Orr, provided by ANZ

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