Posted on | June 2, 2011
I saw a list of 60 soft skills that was ranked #1 organically by Google (search = list of soft skills.) The article was pretty good, but the actual list of 60 soft skills is quite confusing. Here is what I mean. The list included:
- Ridiculous examples like Drivers’ License (#16), Being Drug Free (#21), Work Experience (#24), Understanding what the world is all about. (#53).
- Hard Skills examples: Math (#1), Grammar (#5), Advanced Math (#18), Ability to Measure (#25), Knowledge of Fraction (#36). How are these “soft skills”? See my recent post on the difference of Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
- Basic Professionalism examples: Courtesy (#3), Good Attendance (#22), Reporting to work on time (#37), Good personal appearance (#39)
- Work Attitude examples: Willing to work second or third shifts (#51), Good attitude (#14), Wanting to do a good job (#40), Willingness to be a good worker and go beyond the traditional eight-hour day (#59)
- Only a few were actually Soft Skills examples: - Communication skills with public, fellow employees, supervisors, and customers (#60), Interpersonal skills (#29), Motivational skills (#30) and a few more
Given my recent article, what are soft skills, I want to offer my own list of 28 soft skills that are essential to develop for business professionals.
Soft Skills – Self Management Skills
- Self awareness – knowing what drives, angers, motivates, embarrasses, frustrates, inspires you
- Emotion management – being able to control unexpected emotions like anger and frustration so you can think clearly and at your optimum.
- Self-confidence – those who believe in themselves have access to “unlimited power” (wisdom from KungFu Panda)
- Stress management – Being able to stay calm and balanced in stressful, overwhelming situations
- Resilience – Ability to bounce back from a misstep in your job or career
- Skills to forgive and forget - Ability to move on without baggage from a past mistake or something in your career that wronged you
- Persistence and Perseverance – Ability to overcome challenging situations and obstacles and maintain the same energy
- Patience – ability to step back in an emergency to think clearly or the ability to pause and wait when you are in a rush or want to rush others.
Soft Skills – People Skills
- Communication skills - skills to listen and articulate your ideas in writing and verbally to any audience in a way where you are heard and you achieve the goals you intended with that communication. This is also known as interpersonal communication skills
- Presentation skills – ability to maintain attention and achieve your desired outcome from presenting to an audience
- Facilitating skills - ability to coordinate and solicit well represented opinions and feedback from a group with diverse perspectives to reach a common, best solution.
- Interviewing skills – ability to sell your skills as an interviewee or accurately assess other’s ability or extract the needed information as an interviewer
- Selling skills – this is not just for people in sales. This is the ability to build buy-in to an idea, a decision, an action, a product, or a service
- Meeting management skills – at least 50% of meetings today in corporate america are a waste of time. This is the skill to efficiently and effectively reach productive results from leading a meeting
- Influence / persuasion skills - ability to influence perspective or decision making but still have the people you influence think they made up their own mind.
- Team work skills - ability to work effectively with anyone with different skill sets, personalities, work styles, or motivation level
- Management skills – ability to motivate and create a high performing team with people of varied skills, personalities, motivations, and work styles.
- Leadership skills – ability to create and communicate vision and ideas that inspires others to follow with commitment and dedication.
- Skills in dealing with difficult personalities – Ability to work well or manage someone whom you find difficult
- Skills in dealing with difficult situations – Ability to stay calm and still be effective when faced with an unexpected difficult situation.
- Ability to think / communicate on your feet (under pressure) – ability to articulate thoughts in an organized manner even when you are not prepared for the question or situation you are in
- Networking skills – ability to be interesting and interested in business conversations that motivates people to want to be in your network.
- Interpersonal relationship skills – ability to build trust, find common ground, have empathy, and ultimately build good relationships with people you like or in positions of power/influence.
- Negotiation skills – ability to understand the other side and reach a win-win resolution that you find favorably, satisfies both sides, and maintains relationships for future dealings
- Mentoring / coaching skills – ability to provide constructive wisdom, guidance, and/or feedback that can help others further their career development
- Organizing skills – ability to organize business gatherings to facilitate learning, networking, or business transactions
- Self-promotion skills - ability to subtly promote your skills and work results to people of power or influence in your organization. This will build your reputation and influence.
- Savvy in handling office politics - office politics is a fact of life in corporate america. This is the ability to understand and deal with office politics so you can protect yourself from unfairness as well as further your career.
This is a daunting list. Don’t worry if you don’ t have all of them. The important thing is to understand why they are important to your career success and then ask yourself – what soft skills do you already possess and which ones do you want to develop next?
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Your Comments - Which of these soft skills do you think are the most important to your career success? Is there a soft skill I missed in this list? Do you think problem solving skills is a soft skill?
I look forward to your comments. I am always in your corner.