The Underlying Principles!
Successful people have not done different things; they just did things differently - Anonymous
This single liner is a vital key, in order to survive and succeed in the current highly competitive environment. People who are quick to adapt, creative at problem solving and good at relation building are at high demand. Re-looking at the above quote, what it says precisely is, while it is important that ‘what you do' but what matters most is ‘how you do'.
This is the thin line between success & failure. In the past decade or more, the work environment has significantly changed; team work replaced lone workers; organizational focus shifted from product centricity to customer centricity. Hospitality, IT & Telecom sectors and their much faster pace in grown & business brought in ‘globalization'. Along with globalization came increased complexities and uncertainties in business. This resulted in an obvious impact on the skills of people. Do a lot of people have that certain ‘I know not what' that inspires and motivates the people around them? Do a lot of people have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively? Are a lot of people good at managing their emotions? Do a lot of people have the ability to control a panic situation? Do a lot of people appear to pronounce ‘we' instead of ‘I'?
And the Ancient Egyptians wrote "Be skilled in speech so that you will succeed. The tongue of a man is his sword and effective speech is stronger than all fighting". In different articles, Dale Carnegie quoted about soft skills; "Tell the audience what you're going to say, say it; then tell them what you've said", "There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it". Soft skills are sometimes classified into personal attributes & interpersonal abilities.
Personal attributes, such as:
* a sense of humor
Interpersonal abilities such as
* good manners
* the ability to teach
It's often said that hard skills will get you an interview but you need soft skills to get (and keep) the job.
Soft skills that complement core competencies are in great demand. Having said this, to move ahead in career the functional expertise alone is not sufficient. You have to build an equally strong competence in soft skills to become a prospective choice for an employer. Soft skills refer to all those personal qualities and attitudes that make you a compatible and resourceful employee. If you are not sure what skills matter most, here is a list of soft skills most preferred by employers across the globe:
Employees who can generate lots of positive energy and spread goodwill within the teams and in the organization as a whole are preferred by most employers.
Communication (Verbal & Written)
Absolutely essential skills to build necessary & good rapport with colleagues, superiors and clients. Good articulation, clear expression of thoughts, ideas and needs. The key to mastering communication skills lies in developing good listening skills.
Crisis Management / Problem solving
No doubt, technical knowledge gives you an edge in problem solving. But increased and ever increasing complexities in the business environment open doors to issues which are not so familiar and most of the times not visualized at all. So, here the creative ways of problem solving helps in. The survival of the fittest applies very well here and in the favor of your creative abilities.
The current lean and mean trend demands (atleast expect) each one of us to consistently produce more in less time. Prioritizing tasks in a multi-tasking environment is the most desired way of working. The more wisely you use your time the more successful you will be.
Working in Teams
It does not matter whether you're a team member, team lead, manager or even CEO of an organization, your success is defined by your team's success. To be a good team player you must be willing to cooperate, collaborate, share and most importantly you should be willing to put team / organization goals at a higher priority as compared to your own personal goals.
This is a two-fold skill. While it is very important to be confident in delivering what you're there for, it is equally, rather more important to show that you're that. You can perform well only when you have a strong belief in your abilities. Ask the right questions boldly and at the right time, express your views candidly. Your learning curve should not stop or even pause; constantly update your knowledge base.
This is the right word; but it's been called ‘feedback' in organizations. Feedback sounds more professional but ‘criticism' is that bitter pill which cures several problems. One must be open to criticism; learn to take criticism well. Gain as much as you can from other's inputs. This will help you meet the expectations of people who matter in a better way.
Adapt to Change
Chang is the only constant; this is the principle which pivoted the world from where it was yesterday to where it is today and where it will be tomorrow. In my opinion, Flexibility is the parent skill of all skills; if this is learned and adapted strictly, every other skill follows. Flexibility is definitely an asset in this uncertain world and ever changing business scenarios demand that you adapt quickly to new situations.
Or crisis management or situation management; in a fast paced work set up, unexpected crises or scary deadlines pose tremendous stress. If you're caught by the stress, you lose the battle.
Being meticulous and honest will help you gain the trust of your employer. Build a good reputation to grow in your career and protect it in the long run. Good work ethics are highly valued by employers especially in this age of falling morals
Please note that these are the soft skills from 100,000 feet high. Each of these skills were further explored to a set of skills (eg.: Communication Skills - listening, oral communication, writing & eMail etiquette and so on); each one of them are as critical and essential as any other soft skill.
If you are already confident about possessing one ore more of these skills in some amount, polish them to perfection; nurture them to become an expert. In case you lack some of them, make every effort to fill the skill gap at the earliest because soft skills are just as important as hard skills for professional excellence.
It is little bit more complex for people managing people. In general, people think that the manager(s) don't do anything, which mostly correct, as the manager's job is not to do but to get it done. But, at the same time, the amount of responsibility, pressure and ownership the managers have is tremendous. He / she is generally sand-witched between the boss & sub-ordinates. The manager need to demonstrate a lot based on soft-skills, but in a different dimension.
* Managing People
The essence of your business is your people. Making soft-skills development a priority will bring your team to a new level because it focuses directly on them. By allowing the human aspect of your employees to shine through, you are encouraging them to do what comes naturally to them. Don't overlook these all-important skills when evaluating areas of improvement for your team. Find a way to incorporate soft skills into your leadership development programs and see results immediately
By three methods we may learn wisdom First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest and third by experience, which is the bitterest - Confucius