Meta skills and how to develop them

by Jul 11, 20240 comments

Meta skills and how to develop them

Understanding meta skills and how to develop them will give organisations and individuals who are early adapters a head start

In an age of rapid automation and the introduction of AI, there is a growing demand to future proof our careers. Don’t forget the future of work is already here.  Acquiring meta skills is being hailed as the way to gain a head start.

What are Meta Skills?

Meta-skills are innate, timeless, higher-order skills that create adaptive learners and promote success in whatever context the future brings.

  • Meta skills, or “learning to learn,” allow us to effectively acquire, understand, and apply new knowledge and abilities. These skills help us learn other critical skills. In fast changing workplaces this will give early adopters a distinct advantage.
  • They give us the flexibility to adapt to changing environments and learn new things quickly. They improve our problem-solving abilities by providing frameworks for approaching and solving complex issues. These uniquely human skills will become increasingly important as our workplaces introduce AI and automation.
  • Meta skills also foster creativity by encouraging us to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions. They also promote a growth mindset and a willingness to learn, leading to ongoing personal and professional development.

Meta skills groupings

There are different ways of classifying meta skills. Skill Development Scotland UK describes them as follows

  • Self-management: Manage the now
  • Social intelligence: Connect with the world
  • Innovation: Create our own change


Graphic adapted from graphic by: Skill Development Scotland UK 

Author Marty Neumeier suggests improving our meta skills in his book, Meta-skills: Five Talents for the Robotic Age: Feeling, Seeing, Dreaming, Making, and Learning.

Here are some key meta skills and strategies to develop them.

Key Meta Skills

1. Critical Thinking

This includes:

Analysis: Breaking down complex information into smaller parts to understand it better.
Evaluation: Assessing the validity and reliability of information and arguments.
Synthesis: Combining different pieces of information to form a coherent understanding or new idea.

2. Self-Awareness

This includes:

Reflection: Regularly reflecting on our vision, values, thoughts, emotions, and actions. Not forgetting triggers and blind spots.
Seeking feedback: Actively seeking feedback from others to gain different perspectives ir vital.
Mindfulness: Practising mindfulness is important to stay present to be aware of your inner state and connected to others.

3. Adaptability

This includes:

Embracing change: Easier said than done. This involves being curious and open to new experiences and willing to adjust your approach.
Continuous learning: Engaging in lifelong learning and seeking out new knowledge and skills. Being unafraid to test new areas of activity.
Flexibility: Developing the ability to switch between different tasks and roles as needed. Agility is key in our ever changing workplaces.

4. Collaboration

Effective communication: Honing your verbal and written communication skills is critical. If no one understands what you mean you are in trouble.
Empathy: Cultivating empathy to understand and relate to the perspective of others. Walk in their shoes even for a short time.
Teamwork: Learning how to collaborate, build partnerships and work effectively in teams, leveraging the strengths of each member. This is a vital skill to cut through silo’s organisations.

How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace – 3 Plus International

5. Problem-Solving

Defining problems clearly: Understanding the problem thoroughly before trying to solve it. This requires  analytical skills and evaluation. See above.
Offering solutions: Thinking creatively and critically to come up with some ideas that could become solutions.
Evaluating and implementing: Assessing potential risks and implement the most effective solution. More analytical and strategic thinking.

6. Leadership

Inspiring others: Develop the ability to motivate and inspire those around you. This can be learned  – it’s not the innate skill people think it is. Get in touch for support.
Decision-making: Enhance your decision-making skills to make informed and timely decisions.
Accountability: Take responsibility for your actions and decisions and hold yourself and others to account.

7. Resilience

Stress management: Develop strategies to cope with stress and setbacks.
Positive mindset: Cultivate a positive outlook and learn from failures.
Perseverance: Build the habit of persisting in the face of challenges.

Worth a read: How to Build Resilience – 3 Plus International


meta skills


 Strategies to Develop Meta Skills

1. Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning has never been easier and learning how to learn is going to be critical.

  • Enroll in courses, attend workshops, and read extensively on various subjects.
  • Stay curious and continuously seek new knowledge.

2. Develop self-awareness

Take time whenever you can for inner reflection. Social intelligence will become increasingly important  as technology out performs our human competences. Individuals with greater empathy and other uniquely human gifts are going to bring the most value to any situation.

  • Understand your key drivers and triggers.
  • Keep a journal to reflect on your experiences, thoughts, and emotions.
  • Regularly assess your progress and areas for improvement.

Career Reflection Worksheets UPDATED! – 3 Plus International

3. Seek Feedback and Mentorship

  • Ask for constructive feedback from peers, mentors, and supervisors.
  • Learn from those who have more experience and wisdom and be unafraid to ask for advice.

4. Engage in Diverse Experiences

  • Step out of your comfort zone and try new activities and roles.
  • Work in different environments and with diverse teams to gain varied perspectives.

5. Develop Emotional Intelligence

  • Practice recognising and managing your emotions. This involves understanding your triggers to become more emotionally stable.
  • Develop empathy by actively listening and understanding the feelings and perspective of others.

Worth a read: 5 signs of a high EQ – 3 Plus International

6. Set Goals and Challenge Yourself

  • Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.
  • Continuously challenge yourself to achieve higher levels of performance.

7. Cultivate a Growth Mindset

  • Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth.
  • View failures as learning experiences and persist despite difficulties.

8. Build Strong Relationships

  • Network with individuals from different kinds of backgrounds and industries. Break out of group-think.
  • Foster meaningful connections and collaborate on projects. Suggest partnerships.


Future workplaces

These meta-skills underpin nearly every talent and capacity that we all tap into every day.  They are also unlikely to be integrated into AI in the near future. Taking advantage of these natural and uniquely human skills is the best way to stay relevant in the changing world.

By focusing on these strategies, you can develop your meta skills and future proof your career. You will become more adaptable and effective in your personal and professional life, whatever your goals.


If Meta Skills are a mystery get in touch with 3Plus International for your Coaching Needs


Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
follow me

Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services for building inclusive workplaces

Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services for building inclusive workplaces

Individual services

Only 50% of women create a career strategy. Make sure you are on the right side of that equation to reach your potential

Corporate services

“Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.” — Jesse Jackson

Upcoming events


📢New program: How to create inclusive job postings

In today's rapidly evolving world, it's essential for organisations to embrace diversity and inclusion. Organisations unconsciously communicate their company cultures and values in everything they do including their job postings. These can either attract or repel talent from a diverse range of backgrounds.

A crucial step in this process is ensuring that your job postings reflect these values. Our training program will equip you with the knowledge and skills to craft job descriptions that attract candidates from all backgrounds, eliminating bias and fostering an inclusive hiring process.


create inclusive job postings

Full programme details HERE


📢New Programme available with 3Plus International

“If you have a brain you have a bias” and nowhere is this more apparent than in our hiring processes.

The ‘How to Mitigate Bias in the Recruitment Process’ programme is designed to convey the serious nature of bias in the recruitment process with a focus on gender bias and the way it impacts both businesses and organisations, but in a way that is thought-provoking and engaging.



Full programme details HERE

Dates for the Diary


July/August 2024 - Summer School

Are you thinking about abandoning your job search this summer?  Although the job search market doesn’t go completely flat in the summer months it does tend to quieten down. But this doesn’t mean that you have to!

There is no need to put our job search on hold until after the vacation period is over. It’s time to regroup, refresh and reboot your job search

Use this time wisely. Now is the perfect moment to reboot your job search, or get promotion ready but at your own pace so you can make a great start in September.

Our Summer School Special is a perfect combination of eLearning, followed by a personal, one-on-one coaching session designed to help you reinvigorate your job search to achieve your goals.

eLearning ONLY10 Steps to get Promotion Ready Summer School £45

eLearning PLUS 1:1 Coaching10 Steps to get Promotion Ready Summer School £250

eLearning ONLYReboot your Job Search during the Summer £45

eLearning Plus 1:1 CoachingReboot your Job Search during the Summer £250


9th October 2024 Corporate Event  ‘How to Build your Circle of Success for Career Advancement”

Download and listen free podcasts

Latest Podcasts

Related articles

Why “Mattering” Matters

Why “Mattering” Matters

Read about why mattering matters. It’s not just about if you are valued but that you feel valued both in the workplace and our relationships.

read more