Soft skills are some of the most invaluable skills that people have and need to better develop for their own personal benefit. Within the past few years, I have gotten a better understanding of what soft skills are and how valuable they are and how broad of a range of skills they cover. You can’t force people to become self-aware or force them to be motivated, but you can help them.
Each person has a different set of skills. Geeks have theirs, suits have a different set, and then there are people who are able to bridge the gap and have a unique set of both. Knowing what your skills are and how much they matter should be important to everyone. I never really understood how valuable some of my traits are until recently. I have always known that I have been a very adaptable person who is naturally competitive, but didn’t ever realize that those were valuable traits to have. It wasn’t until I was friends with, or working with, people who didn’t have those traits that I started to realize how valuable they are. We tend to surround ourselves with people of similar traits and that is what I had done for the most part of my young teenage years. It wasn’t until I got to Greenville and became friends with people like Wes who share some traits, but have more dominate characteristics that are different than mine. This has proven itself to be valuable because I have learned how to deal with people with significantly different traits than my own and this will continue to help me in the future. (One of my top strengths is adaptability)
Our book lays out 5 soft skills that are the most important:
1. Listen to what is important to people.
2. Describe your rosy future.
3. Expose your desire.
4. Express commitment.
5. Translate facts into stories.
While these are important in the business setting, it is dually important to recognize that there are plenty of other soft skills out there and it is very important that those skills be developed.
To me, soft skills are skills that you are born with and develop throughout your young years the most. You can also develop them as you get older, but this can be a very difficult task to do. Like many other subjects, there are “*number* Easy Steps to Increase Your…” and this is the same for soft skills. Here are 6 steps that can help you develop your soft skills.
1. Willingness to change- People need to be willing to change something about their life. Forcing someone to do something will not help the problem. They need to be willing to try and change something that they see being a problem.
2. Education- Learning a soft skill is not necessarily a book learned skill, it important to know how to develop the skills. This takes some research and learning to do so.
3. Evaluation- It is one thing to know the best practices, it is another to assess your development. Self-evaluation can provide feedback and lets you know where you stand in your development phase.
4. Self-Reflection- This ties into evaluation. Evaluating and reflecting on how you are doing will give you an idea on how well, or poorly, you are doing.
5. Goal Setting- Defining a clear goal will allow you to set your sights on that goal. Keeping your focus on something allows for a clearer picture on what you are wanting to accomplish.
6. Practice- This could easily be the most important one. You don’t just wake up in the morning and say “I’m going to be a more self-motivated person today!” You might say that, but as the day wears on, you will fall from this mindset. It is important to show practice because practice makes perfect.
Developing and practicing your soft skills will pave the way for your success. Being able to be personable, self-driven, assertive, and just about any other skill will provide you with a certain skill set that you and you alone with have. Being able to develop those skills will only add value to yourself as a worker and as a person.