8 Soft Skills: How to Develop Them and Supercharge Your Success
Nowadays, soft skills reign supreme. Do you want to achieve success? Listen up. Unlike hard or technical skills, soft skills are notoriously difficult to measure and evaluate but invaluable and companies are looking for them in the talent they hire and promote.
Companies today recognize that to move forward, they need to have the people with a positive attitude, who are self-motivated, and can bring solutions to problems. Over the years, companies have become much less siloed and rely on cross functional teams to get things done. There's an influx of communication and the need for greater integration between departments.
With the prevalence of software and project management tools, employees are able to collaborate more effectively.. For that reason and many others, there is now a greater need to evaluate and highlight the need for soft skills.
Developing soft skills are of utmost importance to employers and your career success. Doing so requires a growth mindset, self-awareness, and openness to feedback.
4 Self-Mastery Skills Necessary for Success
Self-mastery is intrinsically linked to emotional intelligence. Self-mastery requires the ability to self-reflect on your strengths and weaknesses.
Are you aware of how your actions and feelings affect those around you? In other words, how’s your emotional intelligence?
How well do you manage your emotions?
Are you focused on your goals yet flexible to inevitable changes?
Let's dive into four critical self-mastery skills.
* Self-Motivation and Work Ethic Matters
Self-motivated individuals are driven to achieve, comfortable taking initiative, and are reliable in their commitments. Possessing a strong work ethic , and having integrity (being true to your word) are non-negotiables; you must be committed to getting the job, task, or project done.
Self-motivated individuals essentially are drivers of their own exceptional performance.
* Critical Thinking and Decisiveness
The ability to think critically gives you a strategic mindset. You are able to evaluate information, keenly observe and analyze, and use reasoning to guide your decision-making process.
This skill set allows you to be decisive when choosing a course of action or which path to take. Because you are careful and intentional in your critical thinking, and communicate information with others you never need to second guess your decision.
* Problem Solving
Closely tied to critical thinking, problem-solving is troubleshooting issues for the best possible results. Problems and need for improvements are ever-present in all organizations. Suffice it to say there is always a new dilemma or problem that must be resolved.
Problem solvers are adept at defining or identifying a problem and have the added insight to determine the root cause. Once identified, problem solvers are nimble and quick to identify possible remedies for the issue.
The ability to define alternative solutions is as critical as assessing and planning how to implement an effective solution. Problem solving is a complex process, and the ability to envision solutions is highly valued.
* Working Under Pressure and Time Management
Working under pressure requires organizational skills as well as time management abilities. At times, you may feel that your workplace is a pressure cooker: different personalities, unreasonable managers, difficult customers, tight deadlines, surprise curveballs, etc.
Pressure is inevitable but working in a way that optimizes your time will create a dynamic and productive way forward. With strong organizational skills and time management tools, you can rise above the noise even in the most trying situations.
4 Interpersonal Mastery Skills that Fast-Track Your Success
Interpersonal mastery is all about how you relate to others in the workplace to deliver mutually beneficial outcomes.
Are you an effective communicator who is open and values insights from other people or departments?
Do you successfully build bonds with all those you interact with?
Are you empathic and respectful towards others?
* Be a Team Player Willing to Collaborate
It's critical to embrace the idea of working and collaborating with others to achieve the best results possible. That's what interdependence is all about. You've heard the expression "it takes a village," which is the essence of teamwork. It points to the importance of valuing the input of every individual and the realization that no 'one' person can do it all. Everybody has something worthwhile to contribute.
Collaborating is essential to move the ball forward to meet the goals of the company.
* Adaptability to People, Situations, and Change
Change is the one true certainty in life. Change is going to come…
Are you flexible and can you go with the flow?
How well do you adjust to a change of course?
What about adaptability to reorganizations and accepting new leadership?
Throughout your career, you'll be called to adapt to new people, situations, and shifting ways of doing business. It would be best if you mastered the art of being agile.
* Communication Skills: Balancing Speaking with Listening
Communication skills are paramount not only to career success but for success in all areas of your life. This includes mastery of verbal and written communication, body language, and the ability to actively listen to others and interpret visual cues. Remember the C’s of effective communication: clear, concise, consistent. Other valuable communications include the ability to persuade others, skillful negotiations, discussing problems and working in teams.
It's important to recognize you can't always have the floor; you need to allow space for others to be heard as a matter of respect. As pointed out by author Stephen Covey in the bestseller "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", we should seek first to understand and then be understood.
Many listen only to respond; they don't listen in order to understand. To actively listen requires empathy, and your emotional intelligence comes into play.
* Leadership Has Nothing to Do with Titles
The fact is you can lead from any position you hold; it has nothing to do with titles. It's time to detach from titles and lead from where you are. If you have the power to influence others, you're a natural-born leader; no fancy title will change that. Embrace and leverage that inner power and use it to its fullest potential.
Take inspiration from Greta Thunberg, a young Swedish climate activist. She's a clear leader that demonstrates that everyone can lead (despite age or position). At this moment, you can choose to lead from where you are – and begin by leading from your strength.
The four interpersonal mastery skills are about recognizing and acknowledging the gifts and talents of others and utilizing them to the fullest potential for the greater good. Valuing different opinions and contributions is critical to up leveling your career success.
How to Develop Your Soft Skills
All of the soft skills discussed are timeless principles that will lead to future success. Mastering them is essential to creating exponential career growth. You'll need to plan to reach new heights in your career.
Choose which soft skills are most important to your success and focus on developing those skills, one by one.
Unsure where you others view see you? Ask a trusted co-worker or respected manager how others perceive you in this area and be ready to listen. Seeking and accepting feedback is critical in your career journey.
Be watchful for who in your organization demonstrates mastery in a particular area. Consider approaching a colleague to mentor you to help you further develop these highly valued skills.
Take action and plan to learn the skill: read books, take an online course or training offered by your company, get a mentor, or hire a coach.
Working in partnership with a coach is conducive to achieving your desired success. A coach can facilitate your ability to become more self-aware. Partnering with a career coach can also help you prioritize which soft skills need attention first for better results and impact.
A career coach helps foster this ability to develop soft skills. Schedule a 30-minute discovery call to get started and work towards self-mastery and interpersonal mastery. Invest in yourself and develop your soft skills because you're worth it!
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