How about that word math? Alright, let’s get to it.
From a young age we’re all taught that hard work and good grades represent the path to a successful life, while bad grades equal an unsuccessful life. FEAR isn’t the best long term motivator for anyone, especially children. And I know plenty of people I went to school with that received lousy grades and went on to become wildly successful while other classmates that received good grades experienced a “failure to launch.”
While this article is geared towards soft skills executives need in the modern workplace, I’d also argue that children would benefit from a mandatory Soft Skills 101 class prior to high school graduation. These soft skills influence how each of us works and interacts with other people. The positive impact to our children, our workforce, and our society will create irrefutable benefits to businesses around the corner, around the country, and around the world.
Below is a list and description of each pertinent soft skill. There’s a good chance you’ve already honed a few and a better chance that you recognize a few where there’s room for improvement. That’s okay. What’s important is that you’re open to learning about the skills and therefore about yourself.
- Self-Awareness – a genuine understanding of your traits, your behaviors, your feelings, and your motivations are critical
- Emotional Intelligence – The four key elements are self-awareness (mentioned above), self-regulation, social awareness, and conflict management skills
- Positive Attitude – people are naturally drawn to other people that are enthusiastic, positive, and display optimism
- Communicate Effectively – engage with folks in a judicious and tactful manner and remember communication is a two-way street, don’t forget to hone your listening skills
- Empathy – it’s critical to remember that the folks that work under your leadership are more than just cogs in the wheel, they are human beings with families and feelings. With the right leadership and recognition from you that each employee and his/her unique situation deserves to be paid attention to. The initial emotional investment by you will work to increase productivity, creativity, and overall success for your organization. Happy people make for happy employees
- Creative Problem Solving – Showcasing your ability to forge an alternative path when it’s needed represents a wildly important skill. There are times when employees won’t be able to provide you with a few solutions to choose from. In those times, you need the skills to come up with a unique approach to settle whatever issue arises
- Feedback – don’t be afraid to ask for it, don’t be afraid to receive it. That said, make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to receive feedback. There’s nothing wrong with saying “I’m very eager for your feedback, let’s schedule some time tomorrow,” etc
- Motivation and Inspiration – as a leader it’s important to motivate and inspire your team. Remember the classic quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea”
- Caring Leadership – as an executive there’s a great chance that someone, somewhere along your path to success helped you navigate the professional waters in front of you. Remember to pay it back and mentor a junior executive and coach them, teach them the skills they’ll need to reach their professional goals
- POV Regarding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – In today’s world of work it’s critical to develop your point of view on the subjects of diversity and inclusion. Yes, they can be your own, you just need to have one
Sometimes knowing what you need to know isn’t enough. Below are a few resources and solutions to put the skills above into practice.
Some of us are born with an innate ability to put soft skills into practice without much effort. Others will need some coaching, self-reflection, and education. While the bottom line remains the bottom line, it’s no longer enough to succeed as an ambitious executive. In today’s business world, soft skills will generate hard results for executives. A Swiss Army Knife isn’t simply a trusted friend to an individual, it makes a person ready for any situation. Soft skills in the business world represent your trusted friend, and they’ll make you ready for anything as well. My executive-focused platform, SucceedSmart, offers folks like yourself an opportunity to showcase how a combination of talents and soft skills create the future-ready leaders today’s top corporations and fast-paced startups need to flourish. Join today and enjoy access to executive job opportunities as well as an exclusive executive peer network where you can create lasting relationships.
All the best,
Founder & CEO, SucceedSmart