Not everything has to do with you. Many soft skills are necessary for external situations and needs that may involve increasing sales, driving motivation in others, and enhancing professional development of the talent pool. Here are the soft skills necessary for these types of roles and responsibilities:
Communication: This is a huge soft skill that involves verbal, non-verbal, written, and interpersonal applications. Active listening, respectful interchange, respect, clarity and consistency. Whether you work onsite or in an outsource, telecommuting, or virtual environment, communication is what gets the job done and helps others do their part.
Presentation: Your demeanour, appearance, and the way you engage with others are what define presentation. These traits help you maintain the attention of your intended audience and convince them to listen and believe in you so that you can reach your intended objective.
Facilitation: Everyone has opinions in a company and wants to be heard. It takes a talented individual to coordinate everyone’s often conflicting perspectives and achieve a win-win solution that will keep everyone happy with the outcome.
Creativity and Innovation: Today’s business problems are so complex that old answers and solutions no longer work. Creativity and innovation is seen as a way to create differentiation and competitive advantage. As such, it is highly valued as an attractive soft skill by many industries and companies.
Interviewing: Extracting information out of another person often may feel just like trying to pull a tooth. They are unwilling to part with it but you are bound and determined to get your hand on that information. Skill is necessary to engage that person in a way that makes them want to willingly open up and give you what you are seeking.
Selling: You do not have to be in sales to need this soft skill. You are quite literally selling things all day long no matter what you do. You might be selling your services or talents, selling an idea, selling the idea that someone else should take a particular action or selling some type of organisational change. You must be able to convince people of the value of what you are selling.
Influence/Persuasion skills: To be able to do this selling, you will need to influence and persuade others to think the way you want them without making them feel that way. It is a tricky thing to influence in a way that makes people think they thought of a decision or action all by themselves when, in actual fact, you did some sneaky persuading.
Teamwork: Although it is all well and good to be a self-starter and work independently, most jobs nowadays ask you to be part of a group or team where you have to rely on others to get the job done. This often means working with people whose personalities, the way they work, and their level of productivity and motivation may be in direct contrast to your own. You need to learn how to play nicely and make sure everyone does their fair share.
Management and Leadership: These are two different levels of soft skills. While both involve motivation and delegation, leadership should be more inspirational and communicate expectations and strategy.
Difficult People and Situations: It is impossible to get along with everyone and handle every situation. Some are going to be clearly more difficult and require some patience and skill in diffusing conflict or problems.
Networking: Today’s business and opportunities come from who you know and, more importantly, who they know so they can pass your name on or help make a connection that opens the door to new business or collaborations for a win-win. Whatever the end result, networking is how business is built today so it is important to stay open to that on a face-to-face basis as well as through online channels.
Negotiation: With so many perspectives and a growing focus on “what’s in it for me,” negotiation is becoming a highly valued skill where you can help create common ground, develop answers that satisfy everyone’s needs, and help maintain very important relationships despite the initial conflict.
“Passion. Without passion, you might as well be flipping burgers somewhere because you’ll never get the gumption to get out of bed and perform your tasks.”
Founder and President, Simons Studios
Organising and Multitasking: Increasing responsibilities on the job require that we do more with less time and resources. This takes the ability to organise and prioritise tasks, transactions, and people to get the job done in an efficient and often cost-effective way.
Mentoring and Coaching: Helping others to improve their hard and soft skills is a highly valued trait because it involves building performance that will benefit the entire organisation as well as the individual is being mentored or coached. Teaching others through constructive wisdom and criticism as well as through learning mechanisms and training is a very special trait that relies on the availability of many other soft skills to be successful at it.
Learning: The ability to be open to learning new things and developing as a person is a must-have soft skill for today’s knowledge economy. A willingness to be open to new things and new ways of looking at things is a sought-after trait.
In reading this list, it is easy to see how so many of these are necessary in today’s job environment and why organisations would admire these soft skills. While it may be impossible to have all of them, it is important to work on as many of the internal and external soft skills as possible. Remember, the more that you can offer an employer, the better chance you will have of winning that prized job opening.
Did you enjoy these articles? We’ll post more from this series soon.