Read this post NOW and find out how soft skills based on Emotional Intelligence can help you achieve lifelong success in your career
Look at this scenario that most managers in their late 20s or even early 30s, pass through. The technical expertise or hard skills that you possess is helping you to achieve steady progress in your current job.
You are working as part of a team. You want to ensure that your performance counts in the achievement of team goals. Your hard skills have brought you to the notice of your boss who is happy with your performance.
You think that things are quite hunky-dorky. So far so good! But is it really so?
Somewhere deep down, now and then, you find yourself asking, ”What Next?”. You find yourself saying that things can be better and you need to do something more to enhance your career prospects as a professional manager.
Talking to your friends, colleagues and seniors you realise that in the 21st century you need to achieve success not only for NOW. You need to carry that success well into the future.
Remember, you are in your late 20s or early 30s. You need to achieve SUSTAINABLE, LIFE LONG SUCCESS to climb up the professional ladder.
In such a scenario, your hard skills are likely to play a much smaller role in your success as a manager.
So then, what is needed to complement the hard skills that you have developed and sharpened over the last few years?
The short answer is: A new set of skills that will form the bedrock of your professional expertise and drive your professional progress—skill sets that will not only complement but also create a synergy with your hard skills and give a booster dose to your career.
The new skill sets that you need to develop and which would help you grow into a COMPLETE MANAGER are better known as soft skills.
So what are soft skills and why do you need to develop these skills? As you go up in your career, you notice that hard skills are not enough to help achieve your goals, to ensure that your contribution is in line with expectations, and that your achievements are noticed by your seniors.
You need other skills which are not directly related to your job knowledge but which complement your hard skills and act as a driving force to your career.
These other skills are known as soft skills that will transform you from a technically qualified to a professionally qualified manager.
You may be aware of some soft skills that are actually personal attributes that you may possess such as dedication, determination, discipline, persistence, punctuality and ambition to name a few of these attributes.
These personal attributes are inner directed and are important facets of your Persona. These attributes surely add value to and enhance your personality as a manager.
Nevertheless, in sync with these personal attributes, you need to develop soft skills that are other-directed and help you to work successfully as a team member.
These other-directed soft skills are increasingly more critical than inner directed soft skills and contribute to your growth as a manager who is recognized by your seniors, peers and team members.
By now, you may be impatiently waiting to know what these other-directed skills are and what is so unique about these skills. So let us look at some of these soft skills and find out why they are important in your professional journey to the top.
Heading the list would be Team Work an extension of which is Cooperation. Next would be Communication comprising verbal, written and gestural skills. One important extension of Communication is Body Language.
Next on the list would be Listening skills an important extension of which is Attention. Other equally important skills are Commitment and Motivation.
A brief explanation on each of these soft skills will give you a better picture of how these skills can help you jump start your career.
1. Team Work
As a member of the team, you are dependent on your team members for a number of inputs that you may need, to achieve your targets.
Likewise, your colleagues need inputs from you. Unless all members work as a team, the team is unlikely to achieve the team’s targets. The other side of Team Work is Cooperation.
All team members need to cooperate with each other to help achieve the team’s targets. In practice, Team Work and Cooperation generate the synergy which ensures that the performance of the team as a whole is far greater than the total contribution by all team members.
Now you can see the importance of Team Work and Cooperation as soft skills.
2. Communication Skills
Communication skills are, without any doubt, extremely important other-directed soft skills. If the person you are speaking to (who may be your colleague, senior, supplier or customer) cannot understand you, then you have failed to get your message across.
It is a failure on your part and in the long run can prove to be a setback to your career. A common understanding of what is being discussed helps the concerned persons to be on the Same Page.
Body Language is a major extension of Communication skills. How you sit, stand, walk, talk and dress are all important gestures that can help you to drive your career forward and upward.
One important extension of Body Language is making the Right Impression. You may have heard many times, during team meetings and discussions with your seniors that “First Impression is the Right Impression”.
So, go ahead and create the Right Impression right away!
3. Active Listening
If you want to talk and tell something, remember that your team members also have something to talk to you and to each other. So it is in your interest to first listen to the people around you—your senior, junior, supplier, customer, friend or even family members.
Getting others to talk and listening to what they have to say is not only a critical skill but also ensures that you get the right inputs to accomplish your goals successfully.
Listening also shows that you value the opinions, comments and remarks of people around you in your corporate and social circles.
Remember that good listening skills in a manager mark him out as Approachable, which becomes a valuable and high-demand skill the higher you rise on the corporate ladder.
One important extension of Active Listening is Paying Attention to what people around you are talking, doing, working and generally going about their daily tasks.
More to the point, Paying Attention helps you get an insight into the people you are working with in your organisation.
Active Listening is considered by successful managers, the world over, as one of the most highly rated and sought after soft skills, in your drive to climb the corporate ladder.
Commitment is taking responsibility, in practice, to do something as your contribution to the achievement of team goals.
Without commitment, no corporate department can achieve the goals set for them, whether customer service, profit, cost, HR or time-lines. The goals to be achieved will only be on paper.
In practice, it is commitment by each and every employee in the team, department and organisation that is the collective driving force to achieve results and take corporate growth to the next level.
In this sense, Commitment is closely linked to Team Work which in reality are two sides of the same coin. Commitment is a result of the willingness to collectively contribute to the achievement of your goals and to team goals.
The mega companies that you see the world over have grown to their pre-eminent global position today, mainly on the back of collective corporate commitment to be the leader in their industry, globally.
Likewise, the top managers who are making news and have grown to their present prominent position owe their success to sustained commitment to excel in their careers.
One vitally important and welcome outcome of sustained commitment is Track Record. Once you commit yourself to team goals, you start achieving results for yourself and for your team.
By achieving results consistently, over a period of time, you create a Track Record of results for yourself.
This Track Record of results marks you out as an Achiever, regardless of whether you are a junior executive or heading a nation wide network as Director-Marketing.
Achievers get and enjoy recognition from their own team, department and organisation, for consistently delivering results again and again.
So now you see how Team Work, Commitment, Track Record and Achievement are all closely interlinked. So, if you want to be an Achiever, remember that it all starts from Team Work in the first place.
Motivation happens when you have a sense of purpose. This sense of purpose is provided by the targets to be achieved in terms of value and volume within a specific time line.
In a corporate environment, you will be interested in Motivation as a driving force to achieve results.
This kind of motivation is called Achievement Motivation. In other words, motivation is the well spring within you which helps you to achieve something tangible, specific and which also contributes to your team, to your department and to corporate results.
You are motivated once you are committed to do or achieve something. To put in another way, for you to feel motivated, you need to be committed to do something.
In this sense, motivation is the driving force to transform commitment into action. In practice, motivation and commitment are two sides of the same coin.
Highly motivated employees are a corporate’s most valuable asset. Many corporate, the world over, devise various plans, schemes and incentives to identify, reward and retain highly motivated achievers.
So, start your journey as a Professional Achiever TODAY and take action NOW!
I have given you a brief, to-the-point description of other-directed soft skills and their critical role in helping you to jump start your career.
But your efforts to developing the five key soft skills mentioned above, will be more proactive if you understand how and why these soft skills need to be rooted in the enduring base of Emotional Intelligence.
So, first, let’s find out more about Emotional Intelligence and how soft skills based on Emotional Intelligence help you develop a personality which gets you recognition and reward not only within the organisation you are working for but more so in industry and social circles.
So what is Emotional Intelligence?
Let us look at a practical definition of Emotional Intelligence also known as EI or EQ.
Why? Our interest is in knowing how to use EI to achieve success in your career and go up the professional ladder.
In practice, EI refers to the ability to identify and manage emotions—your own emotions as well as others’ emotions. Essentially, EI involves 3 related skills,
- Awareness of your emotions.
- Ability to harness and channelize emotions to successfully accomplish various tasks & assignments.
- Ability to manage emotions.
You will notice one thing common to the three skills mentioned above. All three skills are soft skills which help you to successfully complete your job that requires using your hard skills.
This reaffirms the repeated experience of successful managers, the world over, that soft skills are the driving force behind your ability to use your hard skills.
You may have already decided to start developing the five soft skills mentioned earlier, in this how-to guide.
Before you start, wait a minute!
First look at two of the soft skills that comprise Emotional Intelligence—channelizing your emotions and managing your emotions.
So before you proceed further, develop the ability to channelize and manage your emotions and, believe me, you are well on your way to develop the 5 key soft skills.
Managing your emotions successfully will separate you from the rest of the managers.
This ability to be in charge of your emotions is your passport to the progressive growth of your career.
This is the same ability that helps you to keep your cool under stressful conditions, such as severe competition in the market place, emergence of a technology that has the potential to threaten the future of your organisation or even day to day situations that may upset or annoy you.
To sum up, we are looking at you—an aspiring manager—who wants to develop soft skills on the firm foundation of Emotional Intelligence.
The soft skills you are looking to develop will be your life-long partner when you build them on the invisible but enduring basis of Emotional Intelligence.
Now comes the most important part of this how-to guide. I refer to your ambition to be a Complete Manager who can juggle and combine your hard skills and soft skills to match the situation at hand and come out a winner in the corporate sweepstakes.
Begin by looking at where you stand on the steps of the corporate ladder. You are a junior manager, so you will have more steps to climb, which is good for you.
Why? The more steps you need to climb, the more attractive and larger the potential for your professional growth.
Once you start on your professional journey, you will find that developing and learning to use the five soft skills I have mentioned earlier is much easier than learning hard skills which require aptitude.
The best part of the opportunity you are giving yourself is that developing soft skills based on Emotional Intelligence helps you to successfully reinvent yourself in sync with the changing corporate landscape.
Keep in mind at all times that the corporate scenario in the 21st Century will be increasingly dominated and influenced by the VUCA factor—Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.
Remember you are in your late 20s or early 30s. You have around 30 more years of your professional career ahead of you before you call it a day.
You have time on your side to successfully navigate your professional career during those increasingly crucial years in the unpredictable corporate climate dominated by the VUCA factor, if you are a Complete Manager well equipped with EI-centric soft skills.
So what are you waiting for? Get going from TODAY! My Best Wishes to you for a successful and rewarding corporate career!
I am aware that developing soft skills is the top most priority for all aspiring managers, which is why I wrote this post in the first instance.
I am delighted that you have taken the initiative and the effort to locate this how-to guide on the internet. I believe that you would have located this article at just the right time in your career development.
Likewise, among your friends and colleagues, there would be some that may be interested in searching for a how-to guide on developing soft skills for a successful career.
I recommend that you to share this post with them. I am sure you will earn their goodwill for giving them this much needed opportunity to become a COMPLETE MANAGER.
Some of you who may have located this post in your ongoing efforts to gather information related to training & development may be from HR department of different corporate.
I urge you to forward this post to your managers who are their late 20s to early 30s. By doing so, you would be adopting a proactive approach to the critical area of skill development.
You may also like to take this initiative further by actively considering to organise user-specific, short term courses on “Developing EI-centric soft skills for aspiring managers” in your organisation.
Thereby, you will be making the top management of your organisation more aware and become proactive to groom professionally qualified managers well equipped to lead their teams to success in the market place which, in fact, is the true barometer of managerial excellence.