Working with hiring managers in several different industries including mining, safety, manufacturing, and health care the one common denominator for skills from the Executive Suite to the frontend office has been soft skills. Yes – soft skills – those skills that require having good to great people proficiencies. Most managers agree that technological skills are taught in higher education or learned on the job. Soft skills on the other hand are a learned behavior that is not typically taught in the workplace.
Soft skills in this case refer to interpersonal communication skills, relating to others, being approachable, having a good attitude, being pleasant to work with, having cognitive or emotional empathy, and having harmonious interactions with others. Mastery of these skills enables a person to engage and influence others.
The person with great soft skills leads with confidence. They are also able to manage stress. Another attribute is patience. By that I mean knowing when to take action steps and when to slow things down until the timing for a change process is more fully aligned.
Having a work ethic in terms of being present to the situation, with a willingness to learn something new is part of having well developed soft skills. Lastly engaging in business behavior that mirrors truthfulness, has integrity, and is transparent are key aspects of the soft skills toolbox.
Marie-Helene Sakowski, Business Consultant – Change & Transition, firstname.lastname@example.org.