By Samantha McKenzie
Soft skills have been the buzz words in the workplace for a while now. Employers are looking for people who can work well with others, who can produce in a team environment and who can garner buy-in from all stakeholders. Soft skills are usually associated with a person’s emotional intelligence quotient (a cluster of personality traits that characterize one’s relationships with others). They are made up of social graces, the art of conversation and shared leadership roles.
Simply put, it’s what our grandmothers have done for centuries – listening to everyone’s concerns and suggesting solutions that benefit the whole. Our mothers used their soft skills while they were teaching us how to share, or when they were asking us to wait our turn. It was seen when they were being patient and when they were negotiating for a lesser punishment when we made a mistake. It was the kind way mom spoke to dad even when she knew he had taken a wrong turn on the road trip, was completely lost, and wouldn’t stop to ask for directions. These were the soft skills that saved our families time and time again.
They were a part of our foundation. These skills were taught in the home and then reinforced in the classrooms, in Sunday School or at the neighborhood recreation center. It taught us how to work cooperatively to achieve a common goal.
Today’s market demands your soft skills. If you have them, use them. If you need more, seek out training opportunities. Don’t ever underestimate the power of your ability to use your soft skills to move your personal and professional goals forward. Use it to lead, negotiate, re-negotiate, communicate, acknowledge, assess, motivate, empower, educate and reward – in the home or in the office. Your soft skills rule the day.