4 Soft Skills for Boosting Your Reputation (And Advancing In Your Career)
Soft skills, also known as people skills, are important to master if you want to succeed in the workplace; they impact how you interact with colleagues and influence any personal values you bring to the job. The better you are at interacting with your colleagues, the more effective your working relationships will be. We all want to work with people who move our enterprises forward, not people who hold them back.
Learning soft skills is not just important; it’s necessary. That’s why we’ve put together these tips for developing valuable people skills that not only help you build a strong reputation but also set you up for a more successful career.
1. Critical thinking
Look around you. What do you notice about your surroundings? Are you:
- In a circle of people with vastly different opinions?
- Subject to information overload (podcasts, news sources, blogs, social media)?
- In a team of highly intelligent people where you’re expected to think as part of the group?
When it comes to making decisions, you may not have learned how to think on your own. How do you separate fact from fiction and distinguish subjective statements from objective ones?
It starts with building critical thinking skills. Critical thinking, by definition, entails the ability to think rationally and independently of others about what to do or what to believe. One of the fundamental benefits of strong critical thinking skills is ‘suspended judgment’, as psychologist John Dewey called it. That power helps you to make objective judgments at work, in business and in life.
‘The essence of this suspense is the power that it gives you to inquire or determine the nature of the problem before you attempt to solve it.’
2. Crystal-clear communication
You may be a sharp thinker and an expert at what you do, but if you have poor communication skills, all of that will be in vain. You should cultivate clear-cut, sharp communication if you want to convey your wisdom and knowledge. The ability to speak clearly and effectively, to say what you want to say and to achieve the desired goals is one of the top soft skills that elevate you in your career.
Whether you’re a volunteer or a C-level exec, you have to master communication skills; you’ll need them to work with clients, give presentations or write reports, amongst other things.
With the presence of online tools, you can master your communication in many ways. Go beyond your office social circle and find people you want to talk to. Professional meetups and industry-specific forums like CharityConnect can be useful. You can also use reverse lookup services to find a specific person you lost contact with.
To really integrate well with people, you need to learn how to be open-minded. In other words, always be open to criticism and willing to learn new things.
That’s the difference between great leaders and mediocre ones. The latter are rigid in their opinions, no matter how insignificant they might be in certain situations. The former are flexible. They know that opinions are, well, just opinions. They’re open to new research and innovative ideas from colleagues, even if it goes against their decade-old opinion.
At Amazon, Jeff Bezos doesn’t just encourage newer ideas, he rewards the employees who introduce them with promotions and other perks. Whether you’re an employee or a CEO, don’t join a meeting with a pre-planned decision. Let the argument become heated, think deeply and then make your decisions.
Being positive is not only important for solving everyday work problems but it’s also a must for volunteers and people working directly with charitable organisations. If you’re working for a charity, you’re exposed to a variety of struggles and people in need. In these moments, it’s important to share a positive attitude to inspire a good mood in others. Part of being free, open and receptive to new ideas is positivity. That is what separates an easygoing employee from a difficult one.
Some examples of a difficult employee
- When colleagues are struggling to achieve a certain goal, a difficult employee is complaining about the situation
- When the decision about a project is made, a difficult employee is disputing the character of the team leader
- When everybody is celebrating their successes, the difficult employee is worried that their opinion wasn’t heard
All of the examples above are what make difficult people frustrating when they interact with others. You don’t want to be that person. You want to share positivity and keep your mind clear.
By listening to your colleagues, learning from others and forgiving mistakes, you’re creating a productive and enjoyable work environment. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it in the end. Ready to take your new soft skills to the next level? Explore different job options available in the charity sector today.
Valerie Malecha is a contributing writer on several sites, focusing on various business and lifestyle topics. She is also a content manager at Spokeo a company that helps users learn more about people through access to social media profiles, phone numbers and more.