Honing your soft skills to succeed in your career
There is no one single significant job that doesn’t require one or more technical skills. Whether you’re a mechanic, an accountant, a soldier, a lawyer, or a surgeon, you need to have those important hard skills necessary to perform your job. If you look retrospectively, your technical skills are the primary reasons why you did set your foot in the door at your current company. They primarily hired you because you claimed and they believed that you could perform the job.
The problem comes when professionals think that the hard skills that brought them in will continue to help them stay there. It’s a faulty strategy when employees solely depend on their technical skills to further succeed in their career. Most professionals either get fired or fail to climb the corporate ladder not because of the lack of hard skills.
Mark Murphy pointed out, “Forty six percent of new hires fail in the first 18 months and 89 percent of them failed for attitudinal reasons. Only 11 percent failed due to a lack of hard skills.” Someone’s attitude dictates the way that person behaves and acts in a group setting. Their attitude shapes the way they handle themselves in the workplace. It determines whether they communicate effectively and get along with others in a team environment or not.
When an employee lacks those mandatory soft skills that could have enabled him/her to excel in the workplace, those hard skills that brought them in cannot save them. They become liabilities. It doesn’t matter whether they were graduated at the top of their class. As much as their employers rushed to bring them in, they cannot wait to push them out. They get ride of them as soon as they get their substitutes. If downsizing is imminent, those employees with weak soft skills will be the first that would be let go. Those with average technical skills but with suburb soft skills are preferred over those who are suburb in their hard skills but mediocre in their soft skills.
Whether you are a new recruit, an upcoming manager, a business owner, or a community leader, those technical skills that brought you this far, cannot take you far. That is why I like Marshal Goldsmith’s book “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.”
The question is which soft skills are critical in your current workplace or marketplace? What are you doing right now to develop and/or improve these soft skills? How do you monitor your progress? You may be okay individually, what about your team members? What soft skills do they need to succeed? What have you done to help them develop and master these skills?