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20 Areas of improvement examples: How to identify and develop yours

Unlocking your full potential starts with recognizing areas for growth. Whether you're climbing the corporate ladder or seeking personal development, this guide unveils 20 crucial areas of improvement. Discover how to identify and enhance the skills that truly matter.

Amy Rigby

Why focus on your areas of improvement?

Focusing on areas of improvement is important for professional growth and career advancement. By identifying and addressing these areas, you can enhance your skills, increase your value to the organization, and unlock new career opportunities.

Performance reviews play a crucial role in pinpointing your areas for development while attending training sessions and pursuing ongoing growth opportunities can support self-improvement.

When managers encourage professional and personal development, employees are more likely to be engaged and satisfied. Ultimately, investing in continuous improvement makes individuals more valuable to their employers and sets the stage for long-term success. The good news is that you don't need an extensive training budget - we'll show you how to unlock your performance with Marlee.

What are some areas of improvement examples?

Your manager will likely provide one-on-one performance reviews to support your growth, evaluate your work contributions, and share opportunities for improvement. With some preparation, you can use this to highlight your skills and the value you bring to the organization. Let's look at some common areas of improvement so you can confidently walk into your performance review.

1. Integrity

Integrity involves being honest and upholding solid ethics and morals. It's an essential component of building trust. Without integrity, even the most capable and talented employee will have limited success.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • What actions show you have a clear understanding of right and wrong?
  • Do you always tell the truth?
  • Do you avoid conflicts of interest?
  • Do you uphold the company's values?
  • Do you follow through on commitments?
  • Do you give credit where credit is due?

quote from zig ziglar that shows integrity is in your attitude

2. Initiative

Initiative refers to a person's ability to take action autonomously. A person with initiative steps forward to get the job done, even when no one asks.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • When you spot a problem to solve or a task that needs to be done, do you take action independently?
  • Do you ask others to do something before volunteering to do it yourself?
  • Do you have confidence in completing the task, or are you uneasy?
  • Do you appreciate constructive feedback?

To improve your initiative:

🚀 Try our Start Fast online coaching program to develop your drive and energy to get things started and turn your ideas into action.

3. Ambition

Ambitious employees show drive and a desire to improve themselves and help the company succeed. They aspire to be better than they are now. Ambitious employees seek career growth and often have a personal development plan.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you want to go beyond your current role, or are you coasting by?
  • Do you seek out new opportunities and learning experiences?
  • Do you ask for regular feedback from colleagues?
  • Do you ask for more challenging tasks and projects?
  • Do you go above the bare minimum?
a person celebrating after scaling a mountain after working with a life coach

4. Time management

Effective time management involves planning tasks, setting priorities, and achieving goals. It requires applying certain principles and tactics. Something as simple as scheduling software for time tracking can ensure achievable goals are met. 

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you set realistic deadlines?
  • Can you stick to a schedule?
  • Do you plan out your day?
  • Do you prioritize your tasks effectively?
  • Do you know when to stop working on a project, or do you keep going at the expense of other priorities? 

5. Leadership

Contrary to popular belief, leadership isn't just for senior management and executives. Every team member should work on their ability to lead and influence others. Developing leadership skills can lead to career advancement and success in any organization.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you set an excellent example for your coworkers?
  • Do you show initiative?
  • Are you transparent about your processes and decisions?
  • Do you invest time in helping and mentoring others?
  • Do you have a clear idea of your career journey?

To improve your leadership skills:

💪 Our Personal Power program will help you increase your comfort and confidence to be in positions of influence and leadership.

a leader showing their team their areas of improvement

6. Delegation

Delegation involves assigning tasks to others who are better suited for them. Strong communication skills are essential when delegating work. Tasks should be straightforward, done right, and done quickly. Delegating also helps a team build trust and demonstrates teamwork skills.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you ask for help when you're overwhelmed or try to do everything independently?
  • Do you assign tasks appropriately to others who are better suited for them?
  • Do you explain tasks thoroughly and in an easy-to-understand manner?
  • Do you delegate tasks effectively, or do you tend to micromanage?
  • Do you follow up with those you've given tasks to and see how things are going?

To improve your delegation:

🌟 Start our Multiply Your Impact program to help you develop a willingness to empower the opinions, feedback, and insights within your team. Multiply your impact through the potential of others.

7. Communication skills

Effective communication is crucial for relaying and receiving information at work. 

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you listen well to others?
  • Do you seek first to understand?
  • Do you speak openly about your needs?
  • Do you address issues and conflicts promptly?
  • Do you have effective writing and speaking skills?
  • Do you value interpersonal communication?

To improve your communication skills:

Recognizing your unique work style and communication preferences can set you up for success. Effective communication can save you time and energy. Our revolutionary collaboration and performance AI measures 48 motivational traits that influence how you and your colleagues convey and process information.

🔍 Answer questions on what motivates you and receive a detailed report instantly. It will reveal your unique strengths and any communication blind spots. You can benchmark your work motivations with top performers and gain insights to develop your communication skills. Set up a team and invite your colleagues, unlocking similarities and differences in communication styles to help you adapt your communications to suit everyone in your work team.

a woman showing high interpersonal communication skills

8. Teamwork skills and collaboration

Your company hires many people, each with a critical skill set and role. However, for the company as a whole to succeed, each employee must work together. Every team member must have excellent communication skills and emotional intelligence to get the best result possible.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you cooperate with team members?
  • Do you seek out coworkers for their expertise?
  • Do you try to build relationships with team members, or do you always keep to yourself?
  • Do you go out of your way to include all relevant parties or exclude certain people?

To improve your teamwork and collaboration:

🤝 Take your teamwork to the next level with our Team Building coaching program. Accelerate team connection and bonding and unlock energy and motivation in your team.

F4S dashboard shows what motivates you at work

Marlee dashboard

9. Decision-making skills

Making sound decisions aligned with company values is essential for any role. You want to make good decisions regardless of your decision-making style.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you make sound decisions?
  • Do you have an established and transparent decision-making process?
  • Do you decide promptly, or is it a long and drawn-out ordeal?
  • Do you trust your decision-making, or do you second-guess yourself?
  • Do you make decisions aligned with the company's mission and values?

To improve your decision-making skills:

🧭 Take our Trust Your Gut Feel program to explore, strengthen, and stand by what you believe in at work and in life.

10. Goal setting and achievement

Without goals, you will become aimless and stagnant. Setting and achieving goals is essential to professional development. 

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you set realistic and measurable goals for yourself?
  • Do you strive to achieve them?
  • Do you seek out the resources you'll need to reach your goals?
  • Do you set a deadline by which to achieve these goals?
  • Are these goals also beneficial to the company?

To improve your goal setting and achievement:

🎯 Start our Goal Catcher program to inspire yourself and others to set and achieve grand visions and goals.

11. Empathy

Empathy is a sought-after soft skill for good reason. One benefit is that it can improve company retention rates. Empathy is a critical skill for building relationships and making people feel valued.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you try to understand the other person's point of view?
  • Do you have the emotional intelligence to recognize your and others' feelings?
  • Do you respond with compassion, or do you immediately criticize?
  • Do you have active listening skills?

To improve your empathy:

❤️ Explore, develop, and strengthen your emotional intelligence (EQ) with our Increase EQ program. Awareness of your and others’ emotions is key to influencing and building authentic connections at work and in life.

How to Improve Your Listening Skills | 5 Surprising Techniques

12. Creative skills

Creativity involves finding novel ways to carry out projects and solve problems. It helps every company stand out and enhances customer service. Creativity is linked with a higher level of problem-solving.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you try to find innovative ways to solve a problem or stick to old ways?
  • Do you suggest ideas during meetings?
  • Do you have a solid, big-picture vision for your work?
  • Are you imaginative during the brainstorming process?

To improve your creative skills:

🔭 Try our Big Picture Thinker program to improve your comfort and use of abstract and strategic thinking to gain a broader perspective on work and life.

13. Job knowledge

You were hired for a specific role. You must ensure you have the knowledge to do the wide range of tasks listed in your job description.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Are you aware of the expectations and duties relevant to your job?
  • Do you display the necessary knowledge and skills to fulfill these duties?
  • Are you aware of your shortcomings?
  • Do you attempt to stay up-to-date on new developments, industry trends, and technical skills?
  • Do you reach out for help if you lack resources?

14. Productivity

Productivity refers to the amount of work done and how well you utilize your time. Valuable team members are effective contributors, even in difficult times.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you fulfill expectations and/or quotas for your role?
  • Do you remain focused on your work?
  • Do you maximize the productivity tools available to you?
  • Do you try to accomplish tasks using the most efficient method?

15. Quality of work

Quality of work assesses the accuracy and excellence of your output. You may be very productive because you make a lot of something, but your delivery may be low quality.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you hold your work to a high standard of excellence?
  • How well do you follow guidelines, procedures, and standards?
  • Do you produce minimal errors and defects?
  • Do you keep up with your field's latest news and best practices?
  • Are your team members and managers satisfied with your work?

To improve the quality of your work:

🔍 Start our Attention to Detail program and develop a genuine appreciation, energy, and stamina for detailed thinking.

A woman in HR reviewing surveys to improve communication

16. Dependability

Dependability means being relied upon to do what you say you'll do. It is an essential skill for any employee to have.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you follow through on your promises?
  • How well do you manage your workload?
  • Do you show up to work and meetings on time?
  • Do you hold yourself accountable to your commitments?
  • Do your coworkers believe they can rely on you?
  • How well do you manage your work-life balance?

17. Adaptability skills

While every job has a description, every role can expand into new areas. This is especially true for a successful career at a startup, where things change quickly. For that reason, employees must be flexible

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you remain calm and flexible in the face of unexpected change?
  • Are you willing to learn as you go?
  • Do you adjust to changing circumstances with relative ease?
  • Do you approach a change in plans with an open mind?
  • How well do you embrace new challenges and opportunities?
  • How well do you learn from your mistakes and failures?

18. Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills enable you to communicate and interact effectively with others through verbal and non-verbal cues. These skills are essential for building and maintaining relationships with colleagues and clients. In a team setting, interpersonal skills influence how well you collaborate and work with others. Those with excellent interpersonal skills use appropriate language, actively listen, and demonstrate positive body language, such as maintaining eye contact and showing genuine interest in others.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you practice active listening in the workplace?
  • Do you show empathy towards colleagues and clients?
  • Do you make eye contact during meetings and conversations?
  • How well do you adapt the way you talk to different people?
  • Do you use body language and facial expressions to clarify your message?

To improve your interpersonal skills:

❤️ Develop your interpersonal skills with our Increase Emotional Intelligence program.

 a colleague is showing high interpersonal skills by comforting a colleague that is feeling defeated

19. Organization

Strong organizational skills are essential for maximizing workplace productivity and efficiency. Many techniques can improve organization. Organizational skills include the ALPEN method, making lists, scheduling tasks, and creating Trello boards. Learning to be organized can set employees up for success and help the team work better.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • How well do you manage your time?
  • How well do you stay on top of your tasks and responsibilities?
  • How well do you plan and prepare for meetings and other events?
  • Do you use any tools or systems to stay organized?
  • How do you keep track of deadlines and ensure they're met?
  • How well do you handle multiple tasks and projects at once?

20. Problem-solving

To solve a problem well, you must examine the situation, consider your options, and choose the best one. These skills help you handle challenging situations and find creative solutions.

Strong problem-solving skills can be very helpful at work. These traits are important for an organization's growth and success. They're also crucial for conflict resolution and leadership roles.

To identify if you need to improve:

  • Do you actively seek out solutions to problems you encounter at work?
  • Do you take a systematic approach to problem-solving?
  • Do you involve others in the problem-solving process?
  • Do you look at problems and think about how to solve them in multiple ways?
  • Do you follow through on your chosen solutions and track their effectiveness?

Feeling unmotivated?

Find out how to unlock your motivation.

How to answer "What are your areas of improvement?" in your performance review or interview

Now that you've considered your areas for improvement, you'll need to prepare some examples to support them. Honesty and self-awareness are key when discussing your areas for improvement in an interview or performance review. Identify 1-2 non-critical skills you're actively developing and briefly explain your improvement strategy.

Support your response with specific examples that demonstrate both your strengths and areas for growth. Remember, acknowledging weaknesses shows maturity, especially with a commitment to learning.

🚀 Master the "3 areas of improvement" question! You'll impress managers and interviewers by turning this common question into an opportunity to showcase your self-reflection and dedication to professional growth.

Identifying areas of improvement for professional growth

Discovering your areas for improvement is crucial for career advancement. With Marlee, our AI-powered coach, you can pinpoint your professional development needs based on your unique motivations. After answering questions on what motivates you, you'll gain insights into your strengths and potential areas for growth.

Whether you aim to enhance leadership skills, improve conflict management, boost creativity, refine time management, or reduce stress, our AI coaching provides tailored guidance. For instance, if you score low in what we call, Group Environment, you might improve productivity by adapting your work schedule for uninterrupted focus time.

Understanding your workplace motivations opens doors to significant professional improvement. By addressing your specific areas of improvement, you can optimize your performance and accelerate your career growth.

🚀 Discover how to implement areas of improvement at work effectively. Learn actionable strategies that will elevate your performance and propel your career forward.

How can professional development be supported within a company?

When managers push for professional and personal development, workers are likelier to be engaged and happy at work. Performance evaluations can assist in identifying areas for improvement, allowing for professional growth. Improving professional skills makes people more valuable to the company.

Companies can facilitate professional development through performance coaching, internal training programs, and encouraging employees to explore external learning opportunities.

Frequently asked questions

Why should I focus on identifying areas of improvement for my career?

Identifying areas of improvement allows you to enhance your skills and overcome weaknesses, which can significantly contribute to your personal and professional growth.

How can I get started on improving my areas of improvement?

Begin by identifying areas for improvement. Answer questions about what motivates you to gain insights into your strengths and weaknesses (we prefer to call these blind spots). Leverage personalized coaching plans to work on specific skills and enhance your career trajectory.

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