Do you know someone who seems to attract career success effortlessly? He or she is always being pulled into important meetings, mentoring newer employees, and being offered exciting new opportunities. Odds are, that person has a strong set of soft skills. What are soft skills and how can they help you get a better job?
Understanding Soft Skills
Hard skills are what you probably focused on in school. They’re the clearly defined, quantifiable skills that qualify you for a specific job.
Soft skills translate across all jobs, but they’re not easy to define or measure. They include a variety of people skills and personality traits that make it easy to build consensus and work well with others. Here are 7 important soft skills that could help take your career to the next level.
Success comes to those who are willing to put in the hard work to make it happen. Whether you’re actively learning new hard skills or volunteering to take on a rush project, demonstrating a commitment to yourself and your company is key to getting ahead. Of course, it’s important to set healthy boundaries and find a work-life balance, but knowing when and how to dig deep is a vital soft skill.
In work, as in life, setbacks and obstacles are inevitable. It’s how you handle them that determines the outcome. Growth orientation is a mindset that sees failure as a chance to regroup, analyze, and improve. Learn to view challenges as opportunities, and you will go a long way toward building success.
As the old saying goes, nothing is certain but change. Modern businesses adopt new technologies and new processes all the time, and the most successful companies can pivot rapidly as needed. Change is scary, but learning to be flexible is essential.
The best leaders never ask employees to do anything they are unwilling to do themselves. Whether you are running a meeting or working on a group project, it’s important to focus on how you can help make the entire group successful.
Taking and Giving Feedback
For many people, feedback is painful. It stirs up feelings of inadequacy and can lead to defensiveness. Yet constructive feedback isn’t an attack; it’s an attempt to help you become better and more efficient at reaching your goals. Learning to take feedback is essential to boosting your career.
Giving constructive feedback is equally important. Stick to the specific issue and frame your feedback as helpful suggestions. Be careful to avoid attacking the person.
Active listening means staying present, paying attention, asking clarifying questions, and committing information to memory. It’s an important part of being a team player as well as giving and receiving feedback. It also makes you more effective at your job.
This is a catch-all term that refers to the ability to regulate your own emotions and build rapport with others. It requires self-awareness, empathy, and the motivation to create a harmonious environment. It’s a tall order, but emotional intelligence can truly mean the difference between success and failure.