Soft Skills at Work: Ten Skills You Need
Having the technical skills and knowledge to successfully execute your job duties is only one part of being the best you can be in the workplace. In addition to these “hard” skills, we also need “soft” skills.
Soft skills are those skills which allow us to effectively work with others. No matter what your position, organization, or industry, you work with people. Taking the time to build effective soft skills can contribute to a more efficient, more harmonious, and more productive workplace, as well as to your own overall job happiness and satisfaction.
To help you decide if this is the right book for you we have provided the table of contents followed by a short preview/passage from the book.
Chapter One What are Soft Skills?
Definition of Soft Skills
Empathy and the Emotional Intelligence Quotient
Learned vs. Inborn Traits
Chapter Two Communication
Ways We Communicate
Improving Nonverbal Communication
Openness and Honesty
Chapter Three Teamwork
Get Into Your Role
Learn the Whole Process
The Power of Flow
Chapter Four Problem-Solving
Define the Problem
Generate Alternative Solutions
Evaluate the Plans
Implementation and Re-Evaluation
Chapter Five Time Management
The Art of Scheduling
The Multitasking Myth
Chapter Six Attitude and Work Ethic
What Are You Working For?
Caring for Others vs Caring for Self
Work Is Its Own Reward
Chapter Seven Adaptability
Getting Over the Good Old Days Syndrome
Changing to Manage Process
Changing to Manage People
Showing You Are Worth Your Weight in Adaptability
Chapter Eight Self-Confidence
Surefire Self-Confidence Building Tactics
Build Up Others
Chapter Nine Ability to Learn
Wow, You Mean I’m Not Perfect?
Listen with an Open Mind
Analyze and Learn
Clear the Air and Don’t Hold Any Grudges
Chapter Ten Networking
Identifying Others’ Interests
When to Back Off
Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.
Even if you work fairly independently most of the time, inevitably you must also work with others. Finding ways to build teams that accomplish what needs to be done in the most efficient and accurate manner is often challenging, especially when bringing together team members with diverse sets of hard and soft skills. There are some basic techniques you can use when building, or working with a team to help create a cohesive unit that leverages everyone’s talents and ensures that each person contributes.
Einstein said that everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life thinking it is stupid.
When building a team, it is key to identify the different talents, skills, and capabilities each team member brings. Identifying what each team member does well and can contribute helps ensure that work is allocated in a way that takes full advantage of the talent resources on the team. Assigning a team member work that is completely outside his or her skill set is a recipe for failure. On the other hand, leveraging all the diverse capabilities, skills, and talents on your team helps you achieve the maximum results.
When you build or join a team, take the time at the outset to ask each member what he or she brings to the team. What skills, abilities and relationships does each team member have that can enhance the project? What does each person feel he or she does well? How can the team use all these talents and capabilities to achieve the best outcome?
When you are given a role on a team, it’s important to get into it. Be sure you know what is expected of you and what you can expect of others. Even if the role is a new one or a stretch for you, it is key to step into it. This also means stepping out of others’ roles, even if they are roles you have played before. Use your communication skills to create open, honest dialogues with your other team members so that you are all on the same page. Be clear about where your role begins and ends, and be willing to assert those boundaries. Teamwork can be challenging in the best of circumstances, but it is even more so when roles are unclear. A key step in creating a team is clearly outlining what each person’s role is (and is not).
Knowing your role and stepping fully into it is a vital part of effective teamwork. At the same time, it’s important not to get isolated in your own piece of the project. Learning the whole process not only ensures that you understand your own role and responsibilities, but helps you know what to expect of and from others.
When you take the time to learn the whole process, it puts your work and your relationships with team members into a larger context. Knowing the whole process also means that you can help a colleague troubleshoot if problems arise, and that your colleagues can be of assistance should you need it. In the worst case scenario, having every member of the team know the whole process means that others can step in if there is a crisis or breakdown in the project.