Many people think that if they just specialize in a certain field and then keep building their expertise in that field, then it will help them to go far in their career. To a large extent, this is true. In order to be at the top of your field, you have to keep developing your skills in that field.
But there are a number of other skills that are also helpful for career development. You can call these peripheral skills because they’re not directly related to your job, but they will help you in the long term.
Being able to communicate effectively with people is probably the single most important peripheral skill you need to get ahead in your career. You might be great at doing your job but if you’re terrible to work with, then you might not get very far. Developing communication skills will give you an edge over others who might even be more qualified than you.
Let’s say you’re assigned a task and you’re not entirely sure how to go about it. Will you sit there twiddling your thumbs or get on the internet or the phone in order to figure out how to do it? Will you go to the library, get in touch with others who have done something similar or find a tutorial which teaches you how to do it? If you’re proactive about learning new things, this can also give you an edge in career development.
Are you able to keep your emotions in check and perform the job in a rational way? Are you then able to sublimate those emotions and use them to do the job? Do you express your feelings in a healthy way without just holding them back inside?
Many of us have large backups of negative feelings that we can’t let go of, and they keep holding us back. In order to move past this, you have to learn to accept your emotions and deal with them intelligently.