WOW Word-Of-the-Week #461: Soft Skills

June 7, 2013 by  

Soft Skills desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude.

Are you a good listener? Are you good at managing your emotions? Are you comfortable talking about your accomplishments?

I think this week’s WOW is a great follow up to the last two and comes from The Wall Street Journal article by Denis Nishi titled, ‘Soft Skills’ Can Help You Get Ahead.

He writes, “After working five years as a regional director at a large health insurer in Oakland, Calif., Daniel Eddleman felt ready to move up the ladder. So he found a mentor within the company who agreed with Mr. Eddleman that his performance and leadership ability merited the promotion. But he’d need to work on a few soft skills to clinch the job.”

“It can be a challenging environment to get noticed in because it’s such a big organization,” says Mr. Eddleman. He found a job coach who helped him identify and work on three weaka soft skill areas – including the ability to self-assess, manage his emotions and brag. “I realized that I can sometimes come on too strong. I learned to let the moment pass so I could have the space to make a calm decision. I also learned how to acknowledge my own accomplishments to the right people by feathering them into conversation, which is something that I’ve never been comfortable doing,” says Mr. Eddleman, who ended up getting the promotion to vice president.

Nishi continues, “Most people are terrible at self-assessment, a core skill that is needed to succeed, says Peggy Klaus, an executive coach from Berkeley, Calif., and author of “Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It.” Although hard skills like sales and software knowledge can get you through the door, more companies are asking for soft skills.

 Soft skills refer to personal aptitudes and attitudes, such as being a good listener and communicator, that affect how people perceive you in the workplace and strongly influence workplace relationships. Fortunately, most soft skills can be adjusted or learned on your own time with some feedback from peers.”

This week’s focus is on your soft skills.  If we asked your peers would they say you have common sense? Do you have the ability to deal with people? Do you have a positive flexible attitude?