Soft Skills Simplified
What are Soft Skills ?
Soft Skills are the intangible, non-technical, general disposition, aptitudes and behaviours unique to you. Some soft skills are easily learned, such as being likeable and easy to get along with. Some skills you are naturally gifted with, like having a relaxing demeanor while other soft skills may take time to develop through practise.
Each person is unique with their blend of these skills. Soft skills is what sets you apart from everyone else. Employers already know you are technically qualified by the education you completed and where you have worked. But what about your chemistry? Your soft skills chemistry blend is what really determines if you are right for the job. Can you mesh and blend into their organization and culture? Your soft skills blend is what determines that and defines you as a person; who you really are.
You already use several of your soft skills daily, without even thinking about them.
Soft Skills vs Hard Skills
Hard Skills are tangibles such as the acquired knowledge you learned through academic training like courses, programs, university and college curriculum resulting in a recognized degree or a profession. This is knowledge and skills that you learn through formal training over a finite period in a recognized program.
Soft skills on the other hand, can take years to perfect and master through regular daily practise as you go about your day at home, work or play.
You may be a whiz and master at project management. Project management hard skills knowledge is great. But if you are very difficult to work with, rigid and set in your ways, you will have a very hard time finding and keeping a project management job. That is where your soft skills come in.
Hard skill tangibles are the knowledge and ability you have learned through formal training. Your soft skills is your medium of how you deliver those hard skills - delivery to your team, your company and your client. To have knowledge is one thing. But being able to deliver those hard skills is another. That is where your skills blend comes in.
Your soft skills are the differentiator that makes you unique and sets you apart from someone else, your competition for the same job posting for example. It is the glue that unites and wraps your hard and soft skills together.
These skills, once learned, honed and acquired, should be maintained and practised constantly on a regular basis to remain fit, sharp and continue to grow them. That's where belonging to a personal development organization like Toastmasters comes in.
Top 10 Skills
Despite 10 in the title, there are actually more, depending on the level of granularity you want to scope into them. But don't fear. Many of the noted skills are overlapping and transferrable to other skills. So when you are learning one, you have partially learned another. That's what makes learning and honing your soft skills fun.
For different career positions and tasks, there is always a unique blend of soft skills that are paramount and required for success in that position. That's why you should hone and tweak as many of your skills as possible. It makes you most invaluable, capable, adaptable and ready to take on any task you may be confronted with in your daily life.
Soft Skills are;
- Speaking skills
- Able to speak your ideas clearly and succintly
- Writing skills
- Can you write coherently
- Presentation skills
- Are you comfortable speaking in front of others
- Speaking skills
- Can you work under a leader or become a leader of a team
- Able to work with others in your immediate team
- Can you blend in and mesh with an existing team
- Problem Solving
- Ability to manage yourself with given a problem to explore or solve
- Think and apply required solutions in a new approach
- Work Ethic
- Carry out your responsibilities with generally accepted work ethics
- Interpersonal Skills
- Can you carry yourself in a professional manner within groups or one-to-one
- Time Management
- Can you budget, manage and use your time productively
- Attention to Detail
- Able to recognize when detail is needed and carry through
- Conflict Resolution
- When a disagreement occurs can you take steps to resolve in a win-win fashion
- Negotiating Skills
- Able to negotiate to a successful win-win end
- Have a sense, feel or ability to recognize what may be transpiring
- Self Motivation
- Can you motivate and maintain yourself to a task completion
- Self Starter
- Are you able to work with minimal or no supervision to complete a required task
- Able to take full responsibility and accountability on either a good or bad outcome
- Able to make, justify and stand behind your decision
- Work under pressure
- Ability to meet timelines and deadlines by good time management and process
- Able to bend when needed for the overall benefit of your team or project
Skill Mastery and TDKtalks
This is where I come in. From my extensive career of working as an engineering technologist for 30+ years in 18 positions with 10+ companies, I draw on my experiences to write articles related to soft skills application and experiences from you to learn from. Some experiences were very good while some not so good. But I write about both sides to help you develop your soft skills and how to develop yours.
Many times there is no substitute for hands-on learning in the real world, as you deliver value to your employer; delivering a product, service or message to a client. Every situation is unique.
I hope you enjoy and get value from my articles. If you have any questions, please contact me through the contact button and I will coach you along.