2021 Workplace Superpowers – The Musthaves

If I was asked what my special skills were a year ago, it would definitely differ from now. 2020 came with a twist and remote work forced every one of us to learn how to Do It Yourself (and I don’t mean cooking).

Here are some of the must-have skills for 2021 that will make you more sellable to recruiters, and an asset in your current workplace.

The requirements for success in the workplace are changing and what matters most is your ability to adapt to change/trends as they come.- Nneka Alfred, Head of HR, She Leads Africa Click To Tweet

Hard Skills for the Workplace


1. Data Analytics: The workplace today requires us to think in data. This requires us to do a bit more research, crunch those numbers, understand raw data and drive business growth based on concrete analysis.

2. Content Creation: Your ability to produce entertaining or educational material that not only caters to the interests and challenges of a target audience but increases engagement and conversions definitely sets you apart from others in your field.

The content you produce can take many forms, including blog posts, videos, graphic design and newsletters. 

3. Marketing: Businesses worldwide need analytical people who understand what sort of tools are available in the growing digital toolbox, and know how to dig in through trusted channels.

4. Sales: This can pass for both a hard skill and a soft skill as sales involves persuasion, but with a specific commercial end in mind. Your ability to convert leads to revenue would give you a spot in any workplace.

5. Video production: The average person will watch 25 continuous days of video in 2021. Video content is quickly becoming the dominant form of all communication and companies are fighting to create effective digital video assets.

6. Product Development: This involves managing the process of developing a product or enhancing existing products in order to meet customer expectations effectively. If you haven’t noticed, times are changing and the direction of products being developed is too. 

Soft Skills for the Workplace

1. Creativity: Developing new ideas, applying new solutions to address existing problems.  Some people are naturally creative on their own, but a lot of us need to bounce ideas off others to get the creative juices flowing.

An ability to learn continuously and willingness to adapt to change is essential to boost your creativity.

2. Communication skills: Interpreting information through speaking, listening and observing is a must-have skill for 2021. Organizing thoughts and data points into a comprehensive, holistic narrative will get you where you need to be in your career.

3. Collaboration: Collaboration suffers when roles and goals are not defined. The next time you take on a group project, strike up a conversation about what success looks like, and who’s doing what. This simple act can get everyone rowing together faster and more effectively. 

The next time you take on a group project, strike up a conversation about what success looks like, and who's doing what.- Nneka Alfred, Head of HR, She Leads Africa Click To Tweet

4. Adaptability: Manage your mindset. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances starts with a mindset that’s willing to adapt to changing circumstances. If you tend to balk at change, reflect on the reasons why — and then see if you can reframe your perspective to help you see things differently.

5. Emotional intelligence: Practicing control, knowing when to push, expressing yourself and observation of interpersonal relationships among people in a workplace is very important when working with people.

6. Leadership: Leadership in the 21st century is much more about influence than authority, learning to appreciate and adapt to people with different perspectives, priorities, and personalities is a key skill to develop.

Having a difficult time figuring out your superpowers? 

2021 workplace skills

Here are three questions you can answer to guide you:

  • What unique contribution do you bring to projects, conversations, and meetings you attend?
  • Why do team members come to you for help?
  • What would be missing if you were to leave your current place of work?

If you are unable to answer these questions yourself, ask a colleague or friend. If your answers do not reflect the skills listed above, don’t relent or give up. The internet is packed with so much information, take some short courses, seek guidance from a work buddy, mentor or your boss. 

A superpower isn’t just a skill but a perspective, a mindset and a way of working that enhances everything you touch. The requirements for success in the workplace are changing and what matters most is your ability to adapt to change/trends as they come.

Bossing through Learning: Joanna Steele

As a boss, learning is your superpower. You don’t know what you don’t know, but there is now a multitude of ways to find out.

After completing my Marketing & Spanish degree at London Metropolitan University, I vowed that I was never going to study again.

Not because I didn’t enjoy my course or my studying experience – I actually really loved my uni days and not just because of the socializing! However, I was eager to get into the world of work and at the time thought that what I had studied was all I needed to launch and sustain me in my career.

However, over time, I have developed a totally different perspective on education and studying and realise that in order to grow it is imperative to continue learning throughout your life.

Working in the digital field as I do is exciting. Technological advances and changes in consumer behaviour ensure that it’s an industry that is ever evolving and in order to keep up and remain an authority in my field.

I have to keep on learning or I’ll get left behind – @MissSteele Click To Tweet

Just recently, I completed a Fintech course with Oxford University. I had zero knowledge of financial markets but understood that it’s an area that is being disrupted by technology particularly in Africa.

It was important that I improved my knowledge in this area. As a result, I am now part of a group of alumni working on a great project– so two wins – knowledge of a new field and a potential business opportunity!

But it’s more than just keeping abreast of your industry, it’s equally important to learn new things in general, and to stay curious.

In order to grow and live a fulfilled life, it’s important to expand past your comfort zone, increase your skills and knowledge and deepen your understanding and perceptions around areas that you may not often be exposed to.

Haven struggled with weight issues for most of my life, I challenged myself to complete a fitness qualification with YMCA in a bid to better understand health and fitness and to spur on my weight loss.

In fact, I am now a fully qualified Group ETM (Exercise to Music) instructor and whilst I don’t teach classes I definitely have a different approach to my health and have incorporated new elements into my daily lifestyle to maintain a certain level of fitness.

Learning is more than just studying, it’s about growing – @MissSteele Click To Tweet

Encouraging yourself to try new and different experiences, setting yourself challenges, not necessarily knowing how to get there but knowing your why which propels you along your path of achievement.

My Top 5 Reasons for continued learning

  1. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and pride and helps build self-confidence. Psychologists say that learning makes us happier!
  2. It gives you access to new and different opportunities. My network has expanded exponentially – the number of new friends I’ve made and the projects I’ve been able to work on with people I’ve met through learning has been incredible
  3. It fuels creativity. You can learn something in a seemingly un-related area which can trigger an idea in another.
  4. It fuel change
  5. It fuels productivity. Developing a new skill influences the way you do things day to day and can make doing things quicker and easier, saving time, energy and stress.

Having lived and worked in the UK my whole life, I have no experience of living in another country let alone starting a business in one.

But my aptitude for learning, whether it’s reading, taking courses or training is what’s prepping me on this journey and helped me one step at a time to steadily achieve my dream.

I like to believe that learning is our superpower. You don’t know what you don’t know, but there is now a multitude of ways to find out.

I reckon it’s definitely time to redefine the phrase CPD from Continued Professional Development to Continue Pushing for your Dreams.