We all want to be competitive. We want to excel in every endeavor we take, which will help us climb the ladder of success. With so many people vying for job positions and craving recognition, being able to stand out can be quite a challenge. If you have the right technical knowledge and skills, with a good number of achievements you have gained throughout years of toil, you may have a good chance of getting noticed; however, you still have to compete with at least a handful of other individuals with the same competencies as you.
Your best chance of getting the break you need is by acquiring exceptional behavioral skills referred to as soft skills. Employers today have put a lot of weight on these skill sets, which as studies have shown, determine how an individual will perform his job functions and responsibilities; the more soft skills he possesses, the better he will be in performing his job. And this of course will affect the company’s bottom line.
Read on to learn some tips on how you can develop soft skills.
Discovering your own strengths and weaknesses is instrumental to developing soft skills. As you probably know by now, we all have our own competencies, though it varies from person to person. Find out which soft skills you already possess and which ones you do not, and determine what are needed to help you succeed in your career. As soon as you are able to identify these, you are on the first step to developing soft skills.
So, how can you find out which soft skills you lack? The answer is quite simple, all you need to do is ask yourself a series of self-discovery questions such as:
1. Are you nervous and uncomfortable when in the presence of other people? (Confidence)
2. Are you unable to relate and work with other people effectively? (Team player)
3. Do you need to be told what to do in every task or project handed to you? (Leadership/ Being proactive)
4. Do you prefer to work alone? (Team work)
5. Do you miss deadlines? (Responsibility)
6. Do you get all stressed out when under pressure at work? (Handling pressure)
If you answer YES to any of these questions, then there are soft skills you have yet to acquire.
Learning Soft Skills Fundamentals
As soon as you have discovered which competencies you lack, your next step is to develop these skills. It is no easy feat, but it is highly likely that you can develop these even at this stage in your life. Here are some of the basic tips you need to follow:
1. Always look at the bright side. A positive disposition will shine through when you are faced with problems. Smile. When you flash your smile on people who are feeling down, you will lighten the mood. Remember that people love to be around happy and positive individuals.
2. Learn to appreciate and give compliments. Get to know the people you work with and work for, find something good in them, and let them know about it. Praise and encouragement, as long as sincere, will go a long way.
3. Practice empathetic listening. Pay attention to what others are saying and listen between the lines. Put yourself in their shoes whenever necessary for you to better understand them.
4. Avoid conflicts and arguments, when possible. These things will only create a gap between you and others so it is best to avoid them. However, should they arise, deal with it fairly and maturely, and make the first move at reconciliation.
5.Communicate clearly. Avoid giving vague and ambiguous messages, set proper expectations, and make sure everything you say is understood. Be confident in saying what you need to say, but always be tactful. You cannot simply blurt out what is on your mind without making considerations of others, or you might end up offending others and leaving a negative impression.
Practice Makes Perfect
As many professional athletes and successful people know, the mother of all skills is practice. If you keep on doing something, repetitively, these will become your habits.
Think about it. If you continue to smile and think positively every single day for a couple of weeks, this will eventually become natural for you even if you will no longer have to remind yourself to do so. Your positive outlook will simply manifest even without a conscious effort on your part.
The right mindset and a strong commitment will help you develop these soft skills, and once you have mustered them, you will realize that every effort you made was well worth it.