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Developing Your Soft Skills

Aug 17, 2007
You may wonder why you need to develop soft skills when you have verifiable educational credentials and technical skills that make you an expert in your field. You only have to revisit the current job market scenario to understand the 'why' of this issue. As you dig deeper, you will understand why soft skills are so important!

Top Reasons Why You Must Develop Soft Skills

Before answering this question let us examine which skills can help you promote your job and career goals. These are the much talked about but not so often specified skills such as: communication skills, interpersonal skills, negotiation skills, problem solving, team work and leadership skills. Careers such as those in Six Sigma require having well-developed soft skills.

1. Soft Skills Provide A Platform To Showcase Your Technical Skills: You may be a technical guru and are able to get a lot of complex things done in a short period of time based on the strength of your hard skills. But unless you showcase your technical skills, by showing that you can successfully interact with others, your technical skills will never come to the fore.

2. Soft Skills Help You Stay In The Fast Lane: You didn't get to that project manager's position without negotiating your path up through careful planning and execution. Those planning and execution skills make a formidable combination of soft skills.

3. Soft Skills Bring Out The Leadership Qualities In You: Running a project or leading a team requires much more than your technical knowledge. In fact, technical aspects of your job comprise only a small part of the larger picture of project management. On the tougher side are matters such as manpower management, motivating team members, managing the incompetence of some team members and communicating with upper management. As a result, your Leadership qualities will automatically come to light.

4. Soft Skills Help Your Personal Growth: You grow personally with increasing displays and implementation of your soft skills, such as your interpersonal and leadership qualities. Your technical expertise is of no value when you have no project to handle or no one wants to work with you. Even though people will acknowledge your technical abilities, they must also respect your approachability, how you handle their egos and more importantly whether you can provide the leadership that they are looking up to you for.

How Do I Develop Soft Skills

You can relate soft skills development to personality development as well. A complete personality is said to have been developed on firm foundations of soft skills. Here are some ways you can develop your personality.

1. Demonstrate Responsibility: Taking responsibility of a task sets you apart from the crowd. Not many people want to take on too much responsibility, because it requires leadership skills and involves problem solving, both interpersonal and technical.

2. Show That You Are Accountable: More people fear this than you realize. Being accountable for failures, though is a key hurdle for developing your soft skills. Accepting accountability for failures positions you as a person of integrity and allows you the freedom to accept the accolades for successes also.

3. Focus On Learning: Life is a continuous learning curve. What is popular today may lose relevancy next year. As with technical skills, you must keep updating your management and communication skills as well.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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