8 Common Areas of Improvement in Your Career

June 23, 2021
5 Min Read
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Everyone needs improvement. Whether you’re part of a team or leadership, no one’s perfect. Our weaknesses and strengths vary from person to person. However, we identified eight common areas of improvement when developing your professional skills.

Key takeaways:

  • Finding areas of improvement can start with peer feedback
  • When it comes to areas of improvement with performance review, examples include time management, active listening, and collaboration
  • See more stories on Matter's blog

How to find opportunities for improvement

It may not seem like it, but there are countless opportunities to uncover your blind spots and find areas of improvement. While those moments don’t appear magically, there are several scenarios where you can take the initiative to identify those weaknesses. For example:

  • If you have access, look at your 360-degree assessment 
  • Schedule regular peer feedback sessions with your peers and leadership to get a status update on your work
  • Ask for feedback after a presentation or the end of a project
  • Sign up for professional development webinars or workshops in areas of interest
  • Do a self-assessment of your skillset

Areas of improvement performance review examples

When it comes to performance review season, the areas of improvement differ from person to person. However, there are common skillsets that professionals should have under their belts. They include: 

  1. Time management
  2. Proactiveness
  3. Active listening
  4. Communication
  5. Collaboration
  6. Empathy
  7. Asking for feedback
  8. Attitude

Common areas of improvement

From the culture to the processes in place — every workplace is different. However, when it comes to the actual individuals, we all have a similar skillset. Not to mention a same general areas for improvement. The first step is to identify those blindspots, choose what skills you want to work on, and ask yourself challenging questions.

Time management

Time management is the strategy in which we organize, plan, and distribute our time to conquer the work that needs to be done to achieve our goals. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Have I set realistic deadlines for my projects?
  • How am I schedule and track my day?
  • How am I prioritizing my tasks?
  • Am I accounting for breaks between focus time?


Proactiveness is taking the initiative or lead on an event before it happening. More so responding and taking action before without the nudge of an external party. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • When you see a problem arise, do you come to your peers with issues and some follow-up solutions?
  • When encountering a problem, do you try to solve it yourself or ask others for help? 
  • Do you have the confidence to tackle a problem on your own? 

Active listening

Active listening (not hearing) is showing that you’re paying full attention to the speaker as they share their thoughts and interacting with them by asking follow-up questions, displaying positive body language, and responding appropriately. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I being neutral and nonjudgemental when I’m listening?
  • Do I practice paraphrasing and mirroring when responding?
  • Am I asking clarifying questions without interrupting the speaker?


Communication, verbal or written, is the most important skill you can have in your professional skillset. How you give and receive information among your team is what makes communication powerful. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How do I perceive the message given to me?
  • Do listen to understand?
  • Is the communication clear, direct, and candid?


Collaboration is how individuals come together to create something for an organization. Part of collaboration is bringing unique personalities and skillsets to the table where they can achieve team goals harmoniously. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How do I work with other team members?
  • Am I looking for feedback when working with others?
  • Is collaboration solely about completing the task or do you strive to build rapport?


Empathy can be sometimes seen as an underrated soft skill, but in reality, it’s a skill that many organizations value. The ability to understand someone’s perspective and react with compassion is the cornerstone of strong professional relationships. It shows your deep respect for your peers and personal investment in their life. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I make an effort to understand the other person’s point of view without any judgment?
  • Is emotional intelligence one of my weaknesses or superpowers? 
  • Am I placing my own opinions aside and responding with compassion? 

Accepting feedback

Accepting feedback isn’t a primary skill, but it’s a habit that should be integrated into your professional routine. How you seek, give, implement, and react to feedback can help or hinder your development. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • When I receive feedback, do I immediately become defensive?
  • When I give feedback, am I being candid, direct, and nonaccusatory?
  • How do I find ways to implement feedback? And I do make sure to follow up? 

Positive outlook

Positivity, another underrated trait, can impact your peers, morale, and overall productivity. How you bounce back from failures, encourage your team members, and radiate optimism — that attitude will energize others up and initiate impactful work.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you choose to fixate on the negative over the positive?
  • Do you fear failure?
  • Do you surround yourself with others who uplift you?
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