Many years ago, while in college, I overheard a soon to be graduate speaking with another student. The student was asking her what were the most valuable skills she learned while in college. She responded honestly, I learned how to communicate with all types of people. Communication would be my biggest take from school. I feel I have the ability to communicate with anyone from any walk of life and this has been due to my college experience.
Over the years, I have learned many skills some were technical skills necessary to perform a role or position. Others, were skills I learned by working in the workforce. Some of the most valuable skills that transcend from industry to industry are what we call soft skills. Soft skills, or as I like to refer to them professional skills, are skills an individual acquire either naturally or are specifically developed.
Here are four highly sought after soft skills that can help elevate your career. In the story I shared above, my fellow college student learned what I think is one of the most valuable soft skills and that is communication.
Communication is important in every industry. Communication involves not only expressing your ideas but also listening to others. Understanding what is the big picture, is just as important as articulating the vision to others.
Mastering the skill of communication is highly recommended to elevate your career. Just think, when you first meet an individual your first impression is developed on how the person looks and how they present themselves. Great communicators are essential in any work environment and usually are looked upon favorably.
The art of communicating what you want, need, and how to obtain the goal is necessary in any work environment. Good communication involves listening, paraphrasing back to the person what you understand them to be saying, then clearly respond what you want to convey. Following up to ensure your message was received correctly is essential.
Steve Harvey said it best “Your attitude will determine your altitude.” A positive attitude is something a person has worked to develop. I truly believe your attitude will determine your success in anything you seek out to do. This soft skill is one that many individuals miss.
Is your attitude a skill? Yes! Yes! It is! I say this because in life whether it is career or personal, there will be challenges. How you view and handle these obstacles will determine your outcome. When things do not go as we plan or would like, it’s human nature to feel sad, angry, or down. But how do we view this obstacle? I had to shift my thinking to ok this is not working as I thought it would what direction is this obstacle shifting me to? This challenge is presented to me to prepare me for a success.
To not allow your emotions to take over when there are challenges is a skill that must be developed. Maintaining a positive attitude is indeed a skill. A skill that employers desire because in any organization there will be challenges. Which leads me to my next soft skill critical thinking.
Have you ever heard the phrase “there is more than one way to skin a cat?” Critical thinking is an important skill in problem solving and conflict resolution. Problems in the workplace will arise weather it be an unforeseen occurrence that will interfere with meeting a deadline, or issues in day to day operations that arise. Critical thinking is paramount in handling challenges when they present themselves.
If you are in a leadership role or not, having a leadership spirit is a desirable skill. The ability to inspire and motivate the people around you is a skill worth developing to get the best results. Lead by example, be a role model, while remaining humble will gain you followers even if you don’t directly manage others. Your influence and ability to establish teamwork will payoff.
Developing these four crucial professional skills, will give you the opportunity to develop your career to the next level. Please share with me some of your soft skills that has helped you in your career. I would love to hear them!
“An open book”