Think of the people you most admire. What qualities do they have? It’s likely that character traits like being empathic, trustworthy, and a good listener, or having patience, a positive attitude, and being adaptable come to mind.
Soft skills signal that not only can you get the job done, you’re going to bring people together at the same time.
Surprisingly these traits that help people truly succeed in their careers are not necessarily the ones that make you the best programmer, number cruncher, or designer. And these “soft skills” are not the ones traditionally taught in school or in corporate training programs. And yet, according to business forecasters, they’re exactly the qualities employers are seeking more and more. Someone who embodies these interpersonal being skills—in addition to the specialized doing skills needed to perform their work—is highly desirable in today’s job market. It signals that not only can you get the job done, you’re going to bring people together at the same time.
The focus on interpersonal skills for professional growth is relativity new, but it’s becoming more common. There are online programs to develop emotional intelligence and to learn nonviolent communication, and consultants (full disclosure: I’m one of them) who…