Soft skills are essential for career success according to Caroline Smith – Why Soft Skills Matter – Making Sure Your Hard Skills Shine :
Soft skills are increasingly becoming the hard skills of today’s work force. It’s just not enough to be highly trained in technical skills, without developing the softer, interpersonal and relationship-building skills that help people to communicate and collaborate effectively.
These people skills are more critical than ever as organizations struggle to find meaningful ways to remain competitive and be productive. Teamwork, leadership, and communication are underpinned by soft skills development. Since each is an essential element for organizational and personal success, developing these skills is very important and does matter… a lot!
Alex McClafferty in an article in ‘Forbes’ – 6 Soft Skills That Guarantee Your Success – provides advice to help anyone along with soft skilling themselves. While he addresses entrepreneurs in the main that doesn’t mean you can’t employ his advice to be your own enterprising spirit. The main point made though which really stands out is developing empathy:
Sympathy is feeling compassion or commiseration for another person, while empathy is when you project yourself into them and feel what they are feeling.
To develop your empathy, listen more and talk less. To really ‘understand where someone is coming from’, ask thoughtful and probing questions that draw out implications and feelings. When you listen intently and talk less, you’ll be amazed at how much more insight you glean from a short conversation.
This one soft skill alone will advantage in so many ways. Awareness of such will benefit to maintain a workplace position and benefit those who seek to get ahead. While alone this may not be enough, it certainly is one step ahead.
Essentially, leadership begins from within. Effective leaders have command of soft skills. They know how and when to value others and their efforts. Additionally, they know when to credit themselves. Not doing so is counter intuitive to the whole concept of soft skills. To figuratively give yourself a pat on the back fosters your energy and outlook so you then can support and encourage others. You then can be your own leader.
Many skills are transferrable; soft skills particularly so. Think though of what skills you have that apply to a myriad of work circumstances.
Credit yourself. Acknowledge your capabilities. For instance:
- Team work – working effectively in a group or team to achieve goals
- Leadership – showing initiative and enterprise
- Personal motivation, organization and time management – managing and prioritizing your workload and time effectively
- Empathy – the hallmark is being a good listener
- Written communication – committing in text your message in an accurate, clear and concise way, and appropriately
- Verbal communication – speaking clearly and dynamically according to audience and circumstance
- Research and analytical skills – gathering, interpreting and analyzing information and processes
- Personal development – knowing yourself and finding ways and means to develop
- Information technology – effectively using computers and technology.
You may even have a transferrable skill which isn’t on this list. I can for one think of humour, which is commonly seen as a sense of perspective or not taking yourself too serious, as a significant soft skill.
Intelligence, knowledge or experience are important and might get you a job, but strong communication skills are what will get you promoted.
Mireille Guiliano – author