Developing Soft Skills
Soft skills, or non-technical skills are becoming increasingly important in todays business world. But what are they and why are they important? There isn’t actually a definitive list, but they can be defined as interpersonal skills, things that are outside of your actual knowledge and expertise and are more focused on your actual character.
As to why they are important, ….well imagine that you are a head of an organisation and you need a corporate lawyer. You go to see two. One is brilliant, pretty much a genius in corporate law, and blinds you with facts and figures as to how he can help your business. But he doesn’t listen to you, doesn’t make eye contact, can’t perceive that you need him to slow down a little, that he has totally lost you. The other is just as qualified, but she is warm and friendly. She makes you feel welcome, offers you a drink, looks you in the eye and maintains eye contact, nods and expresses her understanding of your needs as you are speaking. She notices when you start to get twitchy because you need to leave, and wraps up the meeting, after summing up your requirements. Assuming the fees for each are the same, which lawyer will you do business with? After working in personal and corporate finance for nearly twenty years, I can tell you that people buy people. You might have all the knowledge in the world, but if you can’t close the deal and then nurture and retain your clients then you will have little success. Increasingly, it is soft skills that hold the key to success for business leaders.
‘The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity, without it, no real success is possible’
Don’t believe me? A study by Harvard University suggested that 80% of a person’s success is down to soft skills leaving only 20% down to hard skills. Additionally, a public interest study carried out by McDonald’s found that over half a million people in the UK would be held back from jobs in 2020 due to their lack of soft skills. As mentioned elsewhere on this site, Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, who one could arguably say has more detailed information on employment information than anyone else, states the biggest skills gap he sees in the United States is with soft skills. And if you need even more proof, a 2017 Deloitte report states that ‘ten of the sixteen crucial proficiencies in the 21st Century identified by the World Economic Forum are non-technical.’ (i.e. soft skills). They also suggest that 2 out three jobs will be soft skill intensive by 2030 and that demand for soft skills outstrips supply by a staggering 45%.
Authentic soft skills provide a competitive edge in the ever-changing world of business. The key word here is authentic. As you may read elsewhere on this site, authenticity and soft skills cannot be learnt and held on the outside in order to be effectively put into action in the workplace. This is proven by the fact that according to an HBR (Harvard Business Review) study, only 10% of the $200 billion annual outlay by corporate training and development companies in the US delivers concrete results. Why is this? Because these training and development companies do not understand that these skills cannot be learnt.
We have spent nearly two decades helping people worldwide to develop soft skills internally. When these skills are developed and held internally, they do not need conscious effort to be transferred into the workplace, the soft skill abilities, (communication, perception, creativity/innovation, agility, flexibility, positivity, empathy, clarity, adaptability, problem-solving, teamwork, courage, confidence, ability to be open and vulnerable, listening, delegation, managing conflict, creating balance, ethical values for example) naturally arise within the individual in all areas of life. The creation or unearthing of soft skills follows a process of deep inner work, the clearing of negative ways of being or self-sabotaging behaviours and the return of the true, whole, self that has perhaps been whittled away or subdued over the years. Soft skill attributes are a reflection of the inner world of the individual. When they are created internally, they become readily available externally. The good news is that when you work with us, the benefits can be enjoyed in all areas of your life, not just professionally.
We believe that there cannot be professional development without personal development, because leaders are, after all, are people.
In order to start developing your soft skills, please feel free to contact us by clicking here.