9 Important Soft Skills for Your Career
What are soft skills? Let's define by contrast. Hard skills are directly related to your profession. Accountancy, carpentry, computer programming,etc. Easy, isn't it? Soft skills are 'people skills', in a nutshell.
Soft skills are how you deal with people. Here are some important ones you should be sure not to neglect. They are divided into the categories of Communication, Leadership, and Personal.
1. Public speaking
This one is important for presentations or for delivering instructions to teams. Being a good public speaker will help you to advance in your career, so be sure to practice public speaking.
It's arguably the most important on the list. Being able to listen ensures that you know what clients, bosses, or other team members are trying to tell you. This is important to work efficiently, so stop talking and LISTEN.
So you can speak well? How does this come across when you are writing? Don't neglect this soft-skill. Being able to put your thoughts on paper or email is a skill that is not as common as you might think. Stand out by mastering it.
4. Decision making
Sometimes there is no good decision to be made in a crisis. Don't stand there like a deer in headlights. Make a call and stand by it. With practice, making informed decisions on the fly becomes a habit. Remember that.
Learn when you have too much on your plate. There is no shame in the delegation, that is why you were given that power in the first place. Get the job done with the resources at your disposal and remember that there is no 'I' in 'Team'.
The ability to find out which skills are weak in a team member so that you can build them up is invaluable. Teaching something actually improves your own skill in that subject and learning to identify weaknesses is paramount in a good leader. Teach, learn and strengthen the team by building this soft skill.
7. Emotional self-control
There is no place for emotional outbursts in business, banning inspiration speaking. Your boss won't want to give you more responsibilities if you can't keep your emotions in check. Keep it cool and professional. When it comes to work, you are a productivity machine.
Sometimes you have to do things that are outside your job description or comfort zone. Do these things. Often your boss knows you are not comfortable in this area and they may be trying to build you up. You might be surprised to find that you are good at these things later or that they relate to your strong points in ways you didn't realize. Be adaptable. Be what is needed for the job. What doesn't bend, must break.
9. Open to criticism
No one likes criticism. The thing is, if it is constructive criticism, they SHOULD. The honest feedback that can improve your performance should be viewed as exactly that. Don't take it as an attack. Good criticism is a map to success.
There are many, many more soft skills that can be developed in the workplace; these are but a few but we feel that they are the most important ones. Practice them often. Remember, hard skills can be learned in trade schools or college but people skills are learned in the workplace and outside of it in social situations. Don't neglect these. Having hard skills will get you the job but having soft skills as well will get you the promotion! Now get to work on those soft skills!
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