It goes without saying that you want to be the best you can be in your job, your career advancement, and in all aspects of your professional life. This success is based on being strong in two categories: hard skills and soft skills.
- Hard skills are technical abilities that are teachable and easy to measure, such as accounting or programming.
- Soft skills, also known as transferable skills because they cross all roles and industries, define how well you deal with personal interactions – from communication and listening to negotiating, delegating and resolving conflict.
Make no mistake about it: both are very important. But the determining factor in your success, whether your goal is to advance in your current job or take your career to the next level, is how well you hone your soft skills.
Sharpen Your Soft Skills
As noted by HR industry experts, “Technical aptitude and business savvy aren’t worth much if leaders don’t have the people skills to execute them.”
Be sure these transferable skills have a place in your management toolbox:
- Verbal communication: Leaders who have mastered the exchange of ideas with their teammates manage more effectively and create a more productive work environment. Communicate with courtesy, show confidence, and back up all your statements with facts.
- Nonverbal communication: Research has shown that while the words you use have only a seven percent impact on the listener’s interpretation of them, your body language has a 55 percent impact. While speaking, maintain eye contact and good posture. Avoid any gestures that are distracting or convey disinterest. Make sure your facial expression aligns with the message being communicated.
- Listening: Know when it’s your turn to talk. (Hint: If you’re not sure, it probably isn’t!) Give other speakers your undivided attention, reserve judgment, and be open to different opinions.
- Dealing with difficult people: There will always be people whose behavior and attitude can jeopardize workplace harmony. As a leader, you’ll be judged on how you handle such situations. Tackle problems as soon as possible, rely on documented information when pointing out unacceptable actions, implement a plan for correction, and follow up regularly to ensure that positive change is permanent.
- Accountability: It takes guts to own an action and accept both the good and the bad that come with it. This entails being on time and meeting deadlines, and not making excuses when you fall short. Manage expectations and practice what you preach.
- Organization: Having a clear sense of direction in all you do will help streamline processes and build efficiency. If a big project seems overwhelming, break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Set a time frame to complete each one. Include regular communication and project reviews on your planning calendar.
- Delegating: Delegation may seem simple, but doing it effectively requires strong finesse and people skills. Make goals clear and be specific about results and expectations. Lay out all the challenges, and discuss potential obstacles. Last but not least, offer needed resources and be accessible if and when you’re needed.
As you hone all your professional skills and build the career you’ve always wanted, turn to the experts at TRC Professional Solutions for additional resources, tips and market intelligence. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.