Developing Your Soft Skills

You just need to look the job market to see how much soft skills are valued. Communication, problem solving and negotiation skills are all vital in the modern workplace. Find out how to brush up on your soft skills.

By Tony Jacowski

You may wonder why you need to develop soft skills when you have verifiable educational credentials and technical skills that make you an expert in your field. However, you only have to revisit the current job market scenario to understand the "why" of this issue. As you dig deeper, you will understand why soft skills are so important!

And we are all of us influenced by people, places, events and situations at all times. Sometimes we are affected more or less by these things, but we are continually being influenced by what happens around us.

Top Reasons Why You Must Develop Soft Skills
Before answering this question let us examine which skills can help you promote your job and career goals. These are the much talked about but not so often specified skills such as: communication skills, interpersonal skills, negotiation skills, problem solving, teamwork skills and leadership skills.

1. Soft Skills Provide A Platform To Showcase Your Technical Skills
You may be a technical guru and are able to get a lot of complex things done in a short period of time, based on the strength of your hard skills, but unless you showcase your technical skills, by successfully interacting with others, your technical skills will never come to the fore.

2. Soft Skills Help You Stay In The Fast Lane
You didn't get to that project manager's position without negotiating your path up through careful planning and execution. Those planning and execution skills make a formidable combination of soft skills.

3. Soft Skills Bring Out The Leadership Qualities In You
Running a project or leading a team requires much more than just your technical knowledge. In fact, technical aspects of your job comprise only a small part of the larger picture of project management. On the tougher side are matters such as manpower management, motivating team members, managing the incompetence of some team members and communicating with upper management. As a result, your leadership qualities will automatically come to light.

4. Soft Skills Help Your Personal Growth
You grow personally with increasing displays and implementation of soft skills, especially your interpersonal and leadership qualities. Your technical expertise is of no value when you have no project to handle or no one wants to work with you. Even though people will acknowledge your technical abilities, they must also respect your approachability, how you handle their egos and more importantly whether you can provide the leadership that they are looking up to you for.

How Do I Develop Soft Skills?
You can relate soft skills development to personality development as well. A complete personality is said to have been developed on firm foundations of soft skills. Here are some ways you can develop your personality:

1. Demonstrate Responsibility
Taking responsibility of a task sets you apart from the crowd. Not many people want to take on too much responsibility, because it requires leadership skills and involves problem solving, both interpersonal and technical.

2. Show That You Are Accountable
More people fear this than you realise. Being accountable for failures, though, is a key hurdle in the development of your soft skills. Accepting accountability for failures positions you as a person of integrity and allows you the freedom to accept the accolades for successes as well.

3. Focus On Learning
Life is a continuous learning curve. What is popular today may lose relevancy next year. As with technical skills, you must keep updating your management and communication skills.

Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solutions - Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.

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