The Case for Soft Skills – Did you know they are the key to success at work?

Success at work woman accepting award

The Case for Soft Skills – Did you know they are the key to success at work?

It goes without saying, I loved the recent article in Forbes contributed by Mark C. Perna regarding the top soft skills you need to be most successful while working remotely.  Like the article said, “soft skills can make or break you.”  I could not agree more, and I love every conversation out there regarding the importance of developing soft skills and emotional intelligence and how they contribute to individual and team success.

I’ll admit, it’s a pet peeve of mine that we even refer to these important skills as soft.  The perception of soft can suggest weakness, or mildness or lacking robust strength.  This is hardly true as it relates to these “must have” soft skills in business; a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, empathy, the ability to solve problems, being a team player, self-awareness, insight, confidence, poise and of course, perhaps most of all, the ability to lead, listen and communicate.  LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner says the biggest skills gap in the United States is not coding, it’s soft skills. “Employers want written communication, oral communication, team building and leadership skills.”

Here’s the good news! Every one of these skills can be learned or improved.  Your role or level of responsibility does not matter.  To develop and improve any skill first requires awareness, followed by the desire to improve, and then repetition until it’s a habit.  Improving your social skills will advance the quality of your work, your ability to influence others and it will also positively impact your feelings of well-being.

Want to get started?  Here are a few things you can do right away.

  1. Review what you do well.
  2. Identify where you want to learn and grow.
  3. Journal or make a list of what you would like to achieve and why it’s important to you.
    (We are only as good as what we write down.)
  4. Talk to your mentor, or respected confidant, share your goals, and ask for advice.
  5. Determine how you learn best. Learning is a skill. Is it reading, listening, or doing?
  6. Commit to at least 30 minutes a day immersed exclusively on what skill you are working to improve.
    (Reading, listening, courses, or journaling for example.)
  7. Repeat.

The pandemic has caused major disruption. We are all looking to upskill to stay relevant in these rapidly changing times.  Soft skills have an enduring impact.  If you want to create lasting change, I know for certain the more you invest in enhancing your soft skills you will feel more positive, build better relationships, create more possibilities, and ultimately your biggest dreams will come to fruition and you will have a successful, rewarding life.  Your goals need support!  If you are not quite sure where to start, I’d love to connect with you and help. Send me a quick message and we’ll talk.

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Mary Williams

Mary is a business etiquette and protocol expert for executives and rising stars who want to unleash their best self and achieve their goals. A veteran of the C-Suite, Mary is a passionate advocate for utilizing the best skills in business etiquette and protocol to ensure meaningful actions for success in business and life. After more than a dozen years in her role as chief of staff, Mary launched her own dream business, Mary Williams, Your First Impression Authority. As a graduate of The American School of Protocol and a certified Business Coach, in addition to working at the highest levels of national and international organizations, Mary understands both the demands and the complexities of maneuvering effectively through business and life.   She is a regular presenter at university business schools, nonprofit organizations, trade association conferences, as well as corporate events. Her mission is to share all she has learned along the way, and in doing so provide effective business coaching to ultimately help people reach their true potential, utilizing distinct techniques and simple steps that guarantee success.

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