Top 5 Underrated Skills Every Employee Should Have

Many of us have an idea of what skills are required for certain jobs. But what about skills often ignored or underrated which without us realizing it, many employers look for?

Below, several CEO’s share insights and tips on the top 5 underrated skills they believe every employee should have, regardless of the role you play or what company you work for.

Doing what you tell people you will do

Keep your words

This is one of those things which is often easier said than done, making it a rare but highly valuable skill.

Auren Hoffman, CEO of LiveRamp and pioneer of 5 other companies says, “If you consistently do what you say you will do, you will almost certainly be someone people desire to have on their teams.”

Doing what you say you’re going to do begins with setting the right expectations. So if your boss sets a deadline which seems impossible to finish on a certain date, you need to be upfront.

One way to move from simply ideas to actual action, is by forming a plan and setting specific goals with deadlines that are measurable.

Keeping track of yourself

Be accountable

Aside from actual implementation, you need to be able to manage your tasks and deliverables without constant reminders. Hoffman adds that being able to do something as simple as replying to an email or as big as delivering a project without being reminded allows leaders to take a load off their minds and focus on other areas instead.

To do this, you need to practice time management skills and consistently organize your priorities.

Writing well

Writing Well

David Ross, founder of 6 startups and an angel investor in 100 others is surprised at how some college graduates are still unable to write clear, grammatically correct sentences to express themselves effectively.

Thomas Yao, founder of D.G.Z. agrees. “In modern enterprises, we have various ways to communicate. Writing is actually the basis of expressing ideas. I start training my employees who can’t express well from improving writing abilities. It takes the time to train someone expressing thoughts really well via email or instant messages, but it’s worth doing since it will ridiculously reduce the communication cost of your company.”

Using resources wisely

Connect the dots

Founder Thomas Yao adds, “ There are three kinds of important resources: information, money and connection.” Most employees simply wait for their leaders to tell them how to deal with the resources they’re allocated with. But an employee who has effective practices and methodologies to use the limited resources is a rare skill invaluable to any CEO.

Taking Ownership

Aim for excellence

Jason Lemkin, CEO and co-founder of EchoSign (later acquired by Adobe) believes those who take ownership are those who “don’t just play a role, but truly own something that make 100% sure it comes in ahead of time and ahead of expectations — with as little drama as possible.”

This means not just meeting, but exceeding expectations. Overdeliver. If you’re into sales, hit your sales plan well ahead of time, while still making time to help others catch up. If you’re into accounting, don’t just balance the books but exceed the collections goal.

Truly own something!


If you think about it, most of us CAN do these. It’s just many of us also DON’T. So while these are fundamental skills every employee should and can have but because these underrated attributes aren’t exhibited all the time, these could be the crucial skills that can differentiate you from the rest.

What other underrated skills do you think an employee should have? Let us know through your comments below.

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