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The Importance of Soft Skills

As a former school teacher, I sometimes meet former students, who are now all adults. If time permits, the conversation naturally turns to remembering the time spent together in a teacher-student relationship many years ago. Over the years, I have noticed an obvious pattern: what the student remembers and remembers has nothing to do with the lessons taught, the program objectives or the academic results, but rather with what I and how I treated them as their teachers. In short, their memories are rooted in general skills that I demonstrated (or did not disassemble), not so much in the teaching skills that I strove to convey.

General Skills, a somewhat unfortunate term because it involves many weaknesses, is a reference to an extremely important set of personality and emotional attributes that we display daily to our surroundings. It shows our character traits, style, and habits when communicating and interacting with others. Our social reputation is largely based on what people think about our individual way and qualities that are determined by our emotional behaviors and make-up.

Of course, when our colleagues think about it, they will think about the competence or lack of competence they have in carrying out their duties, but they will take as much, if not more, the type of people we are. Are we kind, considerate, communicative and in control of our feelings or are we not? Do not underestimate the importance of the success of our career.

Management knows that a good guy who does not have much talent to contribute does not bring more productive value than a very effective guy who does not get along with people. Finding the right balance between Essential Skills and General Skills is a critical challenge for those who must make decisions about hiring, evaluating and retaining employees. So expect that when interviewing for positions or when the time comes to conduct a performance evaluation, your personality characteristics will be taken into account, as well as your technical qualifications.

The set of skills we call “soft” covers many areas, from punctuality to empathy. However, there are some key personality qualities that employers are looking for and need to build a truly successful workforce. Having employees with these non-technical skills can bring a competitive advantage, given the number of employees in many sectors who are riddled with workers and managers too involved in dramas, politics and divisions at the expense of action. cooperative.

Among the many general skills that we should each try to reinforce, here are three that I think could advance our career in a universal way:

Adaptability: Given the speed with which change occurs in almost all areas of a flexible nature, this implies a willingness to learn and progress to meet the demands of new ways when necessary. We will meet more and more new employees as employment becomes more mobile and more and more short-term, so knowing how to accommodate more people improves our ability to work with them.

Collaboration: Knowing how to be a team player when time is of the essence has only become more important in recent years. It is not unusual to hear employers say they are willing to train new recruits on how to operate within a company or work culture, provided they find people willing to contribute and to know how to get along.

Conflict Resolution: Conflicts and conflicts of one kind or another are inevitable, but these situations must not disrupt productivity if colleagues are sufficiently enlightened to understand the value of systematically resolving differences. Have you ever noticed how a relationship with someone could be invigorated when you both beat each other and settled your differences?

The good news is that you do not need to be born with non-technical skills to be able to demonstrate them. These are largely learned behaviors. And since learning never stops, there is still time to improve our basic interpersonal skills.

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