SOFT SKILLS MATTER)

In truth, technical skills have little value if your soft skills are poor. I am not saying that a person does not need the professional skills of their industry, because of course you do…..however those skills will not grant you promotions, make you an effective communicator, enhance your teamwork skills or make you a good time or stress manager. In order to be successful you need to be an excellent team player, an excellent communicator with both your colleagues and your customers, a self-starter, an innovator, and a productive, efficient worker. Without good soft skills your technical/professional skills will just let you blend into the crowd.

Organizations today are seeking hires who can be valuable to their teams, individuals who have leadership potential, who can communicate and work well with others, who are respectful, honest and accountable. If you can demonstrate those traits you will get noticed and have more opportunities for promotion and more challenging offered to you.

[bctt tweet=”Soft skills offer you not only the possibility of career growth, but also personal growth. ” username=”bizmastersglobal”]

Emotional Intelligence, or self-awareness, seems to be greatly lacking today and without that knowledge it is not easy to understand how to put your best foot forward, how to become the best you can be. That is why, improving those inter and intra personal skills are your road to greater success. To grow as a professional and to grow in business, you must also grow as a person.

Let’s now explore what some of the soft skills really are.

Key skills that make a difference include:

  • effective communication
  • leadership skills
  • teamwork
  • problem solving strategies
  • project management
  • time management & organizational skills
  • stress management skills

Having the required interpersonal skills provides a must-have foundation for career growth. They give you the ability to take advantage of challenges and opportunities that will come your way. When you empower yourself, you stay ahead of the crowd.

Effective Communication:

This skill includes Active Listening, Accountability and Assertiveness. It means that you listen more than you speak, so that you can learn more about your colleagues and customers which will enhance those relationships and make them meaningful and long lasting. When you listen respectfully and sincerely to others, they will be more likely to listen to you when you have something to share. Taking responsibility for your actions and solving issues as they arise is what Accountability is all about.

Finally, knowing what you want and asking for it in an honest and respectful manner will gain you more rapport with your colleagues and customers as they will appreciate that authenticity and respect you for it.

Other aspects of communication that can be beneficial are understanding with whom you are speaking and interacting, in other words, the sort of persons you are interacting with…..what sort of personality are they? When you understand their type, you can then adjust your communication style to suit their needs so that your message will resonate with them and you will, more often, get what you wish.

Finally, men and women do not communicate in the same ways. So, understanding the differences will also help you to avoid confusion, miscommunication, resentment and disappointment, as here again, you can adjust your communication style to suit the gender of the person with whom you are speaking.

Leadership:

This is a huge area of skills. Again, you must be an excellent communicator, organized, competent, honest, respectful, forward looking, confident, decisive, and inspiring. You need to be able to articulate your vision, delegate appropriately and provide autonomy, coaching, support and encouragement to help your team be the best that they can be. You need to be giving instructions or directions, not orders. You must also be reliable, open to creative ideas and feedback from your team.

Teamwork:

This area requires many of the same traits as are found in the elements above, and also the ability to get along well with others no matter what sort of person they are, what culture they come from, what gender they are or even what age they are. You need to respect the contributions that others make to the team goals and be prepared to work collaboratively to achieve those goals.

Problem Solving Strategies:

This skill requires a process that allows everyone a chance to first of all clearly understand the problem, respect and an open minded approach to finding appropriate solutions and then giving various responsibilities to each team member to carry out so that the solution is implemented.

[bctt tweet=”A consistent process is key to making sure issues are dealt with before they fester and cause bigger problems.” via=”no”]

This means they need to be recognized, addressed and resolved.

Project Management:

Not every position will require these skills, however, if you are looking for advancement opportunities, possessing the time management, organizational skills and goal setting abilities will greatly enhance your ability to manage large projects well. In addition, effective communication, respect and acknowledgement approaches will certainly be effective in this area. In addition, building the best team for the job requires appropriate delegation so you need to know the skills of your colleagues and recognize their potential so that you can offer them the autonomy to “run with the ball” for the aspect of the project you have assigned to them.

Time Management & Organizational Skills:

A person who self-manages effectively will be more efficient and productive with their day so they will obviously get more done. In addition, they will be good at prioritizing the tasks that will move closer to their goals more quickly and not waste time on tasks that are not that beneficial to them and what they are trying to accomplish. Especially when critical time lines are in place, excellent time managing skills will reap the rewards and get you noticed in a good light. Procrastinators have a tough time keeping to schedules and accomplishing what is necessary without a lot of stressful moments when they realize they are running of time to get everything done before the deadline. Employing good time management structures and processes will be most effective in becoming a good self-manager, which of course will make you valuable to your team and your organization.

Stress Management Skills:

Stress is different things to different people, however, those who recognize what stresses them and have created appropriate strategies to deflect it whenever possible, will be happier, healthier, more productive, more efficient and more creative…..making them a very attractive team member. Unfortunately, many people do not exercise the strategies they know would relieve their stress as they are too stressed out to help themselves. Stress causes many negative issues to arise for a person…..poor memory, cognitive problems, behavioural problems, sleeping problems, physiological problems that can become irreversible if not addressed, and ultimately, relationship issues as communication skills often suffer. It is most important to recognize the signs of stress when they begin to affect you so that you can take appropriate measures to alleviate your stressors and get your life back on track.

I hope that the tips offered above have given you some insight into why Soft Skills are so important in all aspects of your life. If yours could use some polishing up, it might be a good idea to get some help in improving them so that you, too, can enjoy and happy, successful life!

 


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Sandy Chernoff
SANDY'S 30 years of didactic and clinical teaching in study clubs and continuing dental education, coupled with her almost 40 years of Dental Hygiene practice bring a wealth of experience to her interactive soft skills workshops. With her education background she easily customizes interactive sessions to suit the specific needs of her clients. Her energetic and humorous presentation style has entertained and informed audiences from Victoria to New York City. Sandy’s client list includes law firms, teaching institutions, volunteer and professional organizations and conferences, businesses, and individuals. Her newest project is turning her live workshops into e-learning programs using an LMS platform. Her teaching and education background have helped her to produce meaningful and somewhat interactive courses for the learners wanting the convenience of e-learning options. As the author of 5 Secrets to Effective Communication, Sandy has demonstrated her ability to demystify the complexities of communication so that the reader can learn better strategies and approaches which will greatly improve their communication skills and ultimately reduce conflict, resentment, disappointment, complaining, and confusion. As a result, the reader will be able to increase productivity, efficiency and creativity, improve all the relationships in their lives and ultimately enjoy a happier, healthier existence! Sandy blogs regularly on her two websites on the various soft skills topics that are featured in her workshops and e-learning programs.
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Ken Vincent
Ken Vincent

Sandy: I quite agree that having the hard skills required for a given career/position/or industry simply qualifies one to be a part of the herd. Such skills are available in schools, libraries, internet, and even on the job.

Soft skills are quite a different matter though. Of all those, the one that I’ve seen limit or wreck more careers than all the others put together is that of “managing stress”. Everyone faces stress from all sides and all the time. Family issues, neighborhood issues, tax issues, financial issues, and of course job related matters.

One either learns to manage stress or is doomed to be managed by stress.

Chris Pehura

There are so many soft skills, that we decided to focus on the drivers of those soft skills, those behaviors. We call it the HARD in the soft skills. HARD stands for:

H – hyperspecialization – behavior to go deep and narrow, not wide
A – autopilot – automatic behaviors
R – reinforcements – the incentives in our environment keep our behaviors
D – devices – the tools we use determine our behaviors