Soft Skills and Career Success

Guest posts are one of the great things about writring this blog.  I really appreciate folks who offer to do a guest post for me.  Today I have a very nice post on soft skills and career success from Lindsay Harper.  Enjoy….

Learning to Manage Yourself Before You Manage Others

Reaching a plateau in your career can be frustrating and demoralizing, especially if you’re a hard worker who has watched a string of other seemingly less-qualified individuals being promoted ahead of you. What you may not know is that it could be your soft skills—or lack thereof—that could be holding you back from achieving the next level in your professional life.

What are Soft Skills?

Hard skills are the technical expertise and skill sets you need to complete your tasks at work. The term “soft skills” refers to pretty much everything else. Your communication and people skills, time management, ability to handle crises and even the way you carry yourself are examples of soft skills. If your soft skills are lacking, it could really hold you back professionally.

Are Soft Skills Necessary?

Pretty much gone are the days when professionals could hope to move into management roles without first cultivating people or self-management skills. For one thing, a manager with poor soft skills who lacks the ability to handle his employees with tact could leave a company open to lawsuits.

A supervisor with poor soft skills is also a financial liability for a number of reasons. A manager who lacks time management skills can cause unnecessary delays in projects. In many cases, this could cost a company valuable time or cause unhappy customers to drop services or products.

Managers with poor soft skills can also create an unfriendly work environment, which will typically lead to unhappy workers and costly employee turnovers. If you wish to advance in your career and one day become a manager, it’s crucial to start to develop soft skills now and practice using them at work on a regular basis. Your supervisors will take note of your efforts, which will ultimately mean your name’s at the top of the list when it comes time for promotions.

How to Brush Up on Your Soft Skills

Unfortunately, too many people in professional positions won’t concern themselves with getting more training, especially in areas that involve soft skills. Some who have bad people skills dismiss criticism of their interaction styles by saying it’s just their personality and they can’t change. Others feel their on-the-job training has been enough to get them to their current positions and they don’t need professional courses to advance their careers. However, smart individuals and companies know most employees can benefit greatly from continued training.

One way you can learn to improve or develop your soft skills is to take continuing education courses in business practices, or perhaps even go back to school for a degree in business management. Many courses offered in such a program provide you with valuable and effective tools for dealing with others and for successfully managing your own work day, which could help set you up for ultimately moving into a managerial position.

Time Well Spent

If you want to get ahead in your professional life and eventually move into management, it’s extremely important to have excellent soft skills. In the long run, having those soft skills is as important as having great technical hard skills. All busy professionals should find the time necessary to improve their soft skills in order to advance their careers.


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