Sharpin’ Your Soft Skills…
Have you ever heard of the saying “People are your most valuable asset. Only people can be made to appreciate in value.” This statement is true in many ways. When it comes to succeeding in the workplace, a degree or abundance of certifications isn’t necessarily enough.
That’s because the most in-demand skills that employers today crave are the ‘soft skills’. The intangible but important qualities that enable you to work and interact with the people around you effectively and create a great company culture.
For example, Shopify interviews usually start with what they call ‘A life story’ which measures soft skills and predictors of success. From the life story, soft skills shine through and they evaluate on things such as communication, authentic interactions, engagement, self-awareness. If they lack these skills, that’s okay. Every company is different.
I sent a slack message out to my fellow colleagues at Splice what they thought were some soft skills needed to excel in this environment.
“Ability to accept and learn from constructive criticism” – Rebecca Wright, UX Designer
“Teamwork” – Melissa Scott, Talent Acquisition
“Positive attitude” – Paul Mason, Lead Developer
“Self-Confidence” – Ryan O’Connor, Software Developer
“Adaptability” – Sarah Powers, Account Executive
“Self-Motivation” – Kristen Seaton, Community Manager (me.. hehe)
“Ambitious” – Norm Daigle, CEO
“Empathy” – Serge Casault, COO
Soft skills can be developed on the job, through formal soft skills training programs or courses, and by networking and learning from mentors. Review some more extensive soft skills below that we feel successful consultants embody and find out how to improve and strengthen yours.
Communication skills One of the most important soft skills, communication is required to express ourselves, convey thoughts, explain ideas and work successfully with others. It’s needed in every role and industry, and can always be further developed. People often associate good communicators with excellent public speaking. But the best communicators do something that most others fail at, they are good listeners. Good listeners don’t think about what they’re going to say next when the other person is speaking. Good listeners ask follow-up questions and can carry on a conversation.
Presentation skills. Let’s face it; we’ve all presented before. That high school team project where you stand at the front of the class. Now, It could be apart of your career. Whether it’s explaining a new software to your team of five or announcing KPI results to the organization when the time comes you want to be confident and prepared
Problem-solving skills. Every workplace has problems that need solving, but how you approach them and work through to a timely solution might be the quality that sets you above the rest. Learn to see problems as opportunities, not a block. Being creative often means finding ways to solve problems with limited resources. Focus on the resources and tools that you have, not the ones you don’t, and then embrace the outcome that comes with it.
Punctuality. Are you known to be late, even by just a few minutes? It could be impacting your career more than you think. It’s important to be on time, plain & simple.
Leadership skills. Leadership skills aren’t just for CEOs or managers. They are skills that help you cope with responsibility and pressure, inspire colleagues and others and embrace change in the pursuit of finding better solutions.
Adaptability skills. What happens when projects don’t go as planned? Do you exhibit resilience, reset and keep working until you find the best solution? Adaptability can be a hard skill to master, but an important one if you have your heart set on completing a task or goal.
Work ethic. Having a good work ethic is about showing commitment and dedication to your employer and organization. It’s a soft skill that often defines a candidate who wants to prosper their career and one that will go above and beyond for greater success.
Time management skills. With deadlines, constant demands from clients, and what may seem like a never-ending workload, finding time to manage your time better may seem impossible. But there are some straightforward time management tips that you can adapt to help put your schedule.
- Create the right environment to work. The environment you work in can help with your overall productivity.
- List your tasks in terms of importance. Before you begin your workload for the day, prioritize. To-do lists are a great tool, but organize them a little rather than just writing down everything that needs to get done.
- Do important tasks first. Finishing crucial tasks first thing in the morning will leave you with a sense of accomplishment. The day will already feel like a success and a great deal of your stress will be eliminated.
And this is really what soft skills are about. After all, it’s not just about landing a contract or impressing a client. Bringing these traits to a job can help make the work you do more efficient, effective, enjoyable. They may seem simple and you may already be practicing some of them, but push yourself to do more, learn and be inspired by others. Because in the long run, they’re what’s going to get you ahead.