“Technocrats can be hired, technocrats can be fired, but people with excellent communication skills are the people who travel higher in the ladder of success”.. Dale Carnegie
Even if you’ve got an impressive set of letters that come after your name, a wealth of valuable experience and even a few connections in high places. But believe it or not, that may not be enough to land you your dream job or that promotion you’ve had your eye on. So what is that gives you an extra edge of other technically & experienced others??
“Yes” the strength of your “Soft Skills” can make you successful in the professional front.
So, What are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are essentially people skills – the non-technical, intangible, personality-specific skills that determine your strengths as a leader, listener, negotiator, and conflict mediator. “Hard” skills, on the other hand, are more along the lines of what might appear on your resume — your education, experience and level of expertise.Are you an agreeable person? Conscientious? Do you Communicate Effectively? Solve Problems Efficiently? Able to work in Teams? Take up initiate and Lead?
These are the types of questions aimed at uncovering the strength of your soft skills.
Why Employers care about them?
Employers value soft skills, because research suggests that they are just as good an indicator of job performance as traditional job qualifications or hard skills. One recent study, for example, found that personality measures like conscientiousness and agreeability were equally important predictors of work success as cognitive ability and work accuracy.
So how do you uncover your soft skills and get the most out of them? Here’s a list of some of the most important soft skills and how to perfect them.
1. Have a “Winning Attitude”
We’ve all heard that it’s better to see the glass half full instead of half empty. And in the workplace, that type of positive thinking can go a long way. An overall positive outlook leads to an overall positive attitude, and that can be a valuable asset in work environments that typically breed cynicism and negativity. The key to having a winning attitude is in how you tackle obstacles and challenges that come your way. For example, instead of complaining about a stressful workload, think about it as an opportunity to show off your abilities by getting through it productively and efficiently.
2. Be a Team Player
Employers love an employee who displays the ability to work well in groups and teams. Being a team player means not only being cooperative, but also displaying strong leadership ability when it’s appropriate. The next time a conflict arises within your team, take the initiative to mediate. When you find your team getting stuck in a project, take the lead to move things forward. And what if you don’t normally work with a team? Try to be more collaborative in the work you do and build professional relationships with your coworkers. Learn how to say what you mean, and watch your body language…
3. Communicate Effectively
Good communication skills are essential to someone’s job performance. Communication is what allows you to build bridges with coworkers, persuade others to adopt your ideas and express your needs. Many small things you already do — things you probably don’t even think about — have a big impact on your communication skills. Here are some things you should be wary of when communicating with others:
A Smile & Posied Eye contact, don’t fidget. Avoid body movements that cut you off from others, like folding your arms. Don’t talk for the sake of talking; always have a point. Enunciate your words properly and hone your grammar skills with a good reference or style manual. In general, you should become more aware of both the verbal and nonverbal cues you give off to others.
Also remember that one of the keys to being a good communicator is being a good listener. Listening to Understand and Connect rather than react.
4. Persistent Confidence
In almost every situation where you’re trying to impress another person, confidence is key. While it’s important to accept your limitations and act humble when you receive praise, it’s also important to acknowledge your strengths and embrace them.
Make sure you have the knowledge and skills to back up your confidence. If you act confident in some of your job responsibilities – Presentation Skills, Conflict Resolving, Written communication, Project Management and Leadership abilities — make sure that it’s based on genuine, positive reinforcement.
5. Hone your Creative Skills
Creativity and imaginative thinking are valued in any job. Even the most technical positions require the ability to think outside the box. So never underestimate the power of innovative problem solving. The next time you’re handed a tedious task, try to tackle it in a way that allows you to complete it more efficiently. When a problem comes along that others are reluctant to take on, jump at the opportunity to find a creative solution. If it doesn’t work, then at least you’ll have tried.
6. Accept & Learn from Criticism
This is one of the most challenging soft skills, which is why it’s typically one of the most impressive to employers. Your ability to handle criticism says a lot about your willingness to improve. And being able to criticize the work of others constructively is just as important.
Be aware of how defensive you get in reaction to negative feedback. Never reject a piece of constructive criticism completely without acknowledging that at least part of it is helpful. And when you dish out criticism, make sure it’s done diplomatically. Try to anticipate how the person you’re criticizing will react based on his personality, and shape the way you criticize him accordingly. Learn how to be a motivator and prioritize your projects
7. Motivate Yourself & Lead others
It’s important for an employer to know that you’re a self-starter who takes initiative. This means constantly seeking out new ways to keep your job interesting and motivational, even if it at the surface it seems repetitive and mundane.
Creativity plays a big role in this, but there’s more to motivation than just that. Have the courage to pursue those ideas you’ve had stuck in the back of your mind, and have the dedication to follow through with them and be successful. Pilot others in the same direction to work towards a common goal. Remember that a good leader leads by example.
8. Time Management and Prioritizing
In today’s workplace, a good employee is expected to be able to shuffle several different assignments and projects at once. Are you good at tracking the progress of different projects you’ve been handed to work on? Do you know how to prioritize what’s most important? Distinguishing the Urgent from the Important is the key to being a good multitasker.
Focus on the Important and along with it don’t be afraid to take on new tasks. Show off your multitasking skills by taking on projects that fall all over the spectrum. Branch out beyond your direct responsibilities, and be sure to report on the progress of projects regularly.
9. See the Big Picture – the Vision and the Goal
Looking at the larger picture in your work means being able to see the determining factors of success. It also means recognizing a risk that’s worth taking, and knowing when to take it.
Say, for example, that you’re in advertising and you’re handed the task of creating a campaign for a brand of soap. To see the big picture, you should recognize that the goal is not just to sell soap, but also to satisfy the client and provide him with a quality service. Additionally, you make yourself more valuable to your company by showing the unique creativity only you can bring to such a project.
10. Capitalize on all of your Skills along with Core Competency
While it’s important to recognize and build on your soft skills, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect your hard skills, your Core Competency. The real key to success in any job is making your soft skills and hard skills complement each other and make it a winning formula.
11. Be Willing to Learn always
So even if you are fresh out of college, chances are that you wouldn’t have all the knowledge. One just learns along the way to be in place to be able to imbibe the new knowledge and skills and develop the right winning attitude.
To help you learn more, there are these 38 Soft Skills Pack which I have developed over a period of past 25 years of my Corporate Soft Skills Training Experience. As it is said that you do not have to re-invent the wheel, these ready mode soft skills products are available to your soft skills learning and development and also you can use this to train and empower other in your soft skills training program. See Details..
Wish you all the very best.