Softly, Softly, Catchee Monkey: The Skills That Boost Careers

March 23, 2018

Firstly, what the hell are soft skills? Well, to put it simply, there are the ones which are difficult to measure. Unlike hard skills, you can’t quantify them or rank them in order of importance.

 

Hold on a minute, though, because this shouldn’t imply they are useless.

 

Soft skills, for the most part, are just as essential to a person’s career as any other type. Without them, yours may fall flat.

 

 

 

So, now that you know what they are, it’s time to take an inventory. How many do you have, in general terms? If you are unsure, don’t worry because this post can help. The answer, on average, is “not very many.” Because hard skills are desirable, employees tend to focus their time sharpening these talents.

 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you can be the best and still won’t progress without a mixture of talents.

 

With that in mind, you should read on and learn which of the “lesser” abilities are more important than you think.

 

 

Communication

 

What It Is: The ability to speak face to face or via the internet and to explain expectations.

 

Why It’s Important: It’s easy to look at this skill and think “this doesn’t apply to me because I’m not a manager.” Sure, bosses need to communicate every day and get their point across. Otherwise, there is little point in holding the title of supervisor. However, don’t let your position in the company fool you into believing you can get away without this talent. For one thing, a successful career means a promotion or two, and peers and colleagues are essential to the process. The hierarchy will ask you around the office, and they won’t be convinced if the info that comes back is unflattering. Quite simply, communication helps to build relationships throughout the workplace.

 

How To Be Better: Usually, public speaking helps as it erases any fears of addressing a group of people. Also, watching others and how they react is another great tip. Speaking without saying a word is often as important as articulating a sentence.

 

 

Problem Solving

 

What It Is: The ability to find solutions, creatively or otherwise, without the help of others.

 

Why It’s Important: Bosses are there to help because, well, that is their job. Also, part of their job specification is to concentrate on important issues regarding the company. They can’t perform their duties if they are babysitting employees all day long. As a result, even if they don’t see it in the beginning, they will spot the talent in the long-term. The fact that they can leave you to work on a project without constant validation and advice is very pleasing. It says “you can trust me, boss,” and managers reward the people they rely on to perform.

 

How To Be Better: As simple as it sounds, don’t run for help every time there is an issue. The first thing you want to do is attempt to fix the problem alone before getting assistance. After a while, the brain will begin to react and come up with solutions.

 

 

Conflict Resolution

 

What It Is: As the name suggests, it’s where an individual deals with a confrontational colleague or co-worker. I.e. A bully.

 

Why It’s Important: Because bullies make it hard to focus on work and complete tasks. Emotionally, they put a huge strain on their victims and it can permeate into other areas of their life. To be happy in the workplace again, you have to be able to stop it at the source. Most companies have an HR service, which is essential, but you have to be clever. Sometimes, reporting an incident makes it worse, particularly if the person is well-liked and there is no evidence. In this case, talking face to face may be a better alternative.

 

How To Be Better: Become a mediator for others. Let them vent their frustrations and then bring up rebuttals so that they can see the opposing opinion. Finally, find a middle ground or the best form of compromise.

 

 

 

Observation

 

What It Is: The ability to spot patterns in data and human behavior.

 

Why It’s Important: Companies are internet-based and Big Data is a massive part of life in 2018. Being able to work with numbers isn’t helpful if you can’t see trends and react accordingly. Plus, management has to be able to see problems in the workplace before they happen and put out fires.

 

How To Be Better: The only way to raise the roof is to do your research. Stay on top of topical trends and read up on the latest developments to keep your finger on the pulse.

 

 

What do you think of the list? Are these skills as important as coding, for example?

 

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