You’re technologically brilliant. Today, that’s almost all you need to be highly desirable – and paid – in the workforce. But here’s a little secret. A technologically skilled worker with a decent handle on some soft skills will often go further than an even more skilled IT, engineering, finance, or accounting professional without those soft skills.
Technical skills get your foot in the door. Soft skills open doors.
Yes – it’s great to focus on your strengths and do what comes naturally to you – but identifying some areas where simple, easy improvements could make a vast difference in your career opportunities – then putting forth the effort to improve these skills until they suddenly feel effortless – will pay off in more ways than one.
We could list dozens of soft skills. But instead we’ll offer two important action steps you can take that we’ve seen naturally result in the improvement of many soft skills all at once. We didn’t come up with them. They’re timeless and proven techniques that have been applied with success for centuries. Apply these at work and at home and you’ll see a big difference. And this goes for anyone, technical-minded or otherwise.
1. Think and speak positive.
Tackling a challenging problem? Imagine the desired outcome first. Not quite satisfied at work? Envision a desirable scenario that is realistic for you if you take the required steps. Not sure of another’s intentions? Assume the best and approach them with that kinder outlook first. And take your mother’s advice: when you speak, let it be to say something positive if possible. The results of this type of thinking aren’t to be underestimated. They’re significant. We’re not saying go so far as denial, but think and speak positive whenever possible, and you’ll see many wonderful things you thought impossible come to fruition – and many bad things the “old you” would have anticipated, never even happen.
2. Ask people questions.
There are at least two obvious benefits to asking other people about themselves. The first is that you’ll likely learn something. You’ll learn about the other people, how to work better with them, and maybe even how to do your own job better. The second benefit is that you’ll be a more likable person. That’s because people, quite simply, appreciate your interest in them and they opportunity to talk about themselves. If there is anyone more successful than a hardworking, skilled person it’s a likeable, hardworking, skilled person.
These two soft skills are simple enough to apply, become natural the more you use them, and make a bigger difference in your life than many others combined.
Do you make it a practice to use these skills at work? If so, have they made a difference in your career?