How focusing on soft skills can help you stand out!
“Soft-Skills” is a buzzword that you have no doubt heard before. It might have been in a staff meeting before, you might have read it an email, or if you somehow have not heard of it, you have heard it now.
Soft skills are the opposite of hard skills, which are skill sets that can often be taught, learned, and applied. I would call these “technical skills” personally and a few examples could be how to use a specific software that your workplace requires like Microsoft Excel as an accountant, or the ability to learn another language, or skill that can be applied and it can be easy to assess whether or not the skill has been learned.
On the other hand, soft skills are much more difficult to teach, apply, and measure if they’ve been learned. They might be referred to as “interpersonal skills” in many settings because they often are associated with skills involving other people.
Some common examples of soft skills that you might be familiar with are problem-solving, teamwork, communication, productivity, time management, and there are many others.
But, why are soft skills becoming more and more important in the world today?
I believe a major reason for this is the fact that our world is changing so rapidly and technology is changing the way a lot of these hard skills are done.
Businesses and industries are always looking for ways to make more money and one of the ways they do this is by saving more money. Companies are able to do this by targeting the hard skills they would have normally hired someone to do and they are replacing them with technology. Self checkouts in stores, artificial intelligence and high-tech machines are a few examples of how this is happening at alarming rates.
In fact, the technology is developing faster and faster every day. Moore’s Law states that computers and the technology they run off doubles in speed approximately every 2 years, which means that this technology is becoming faster, smaller, and cheaper.
This development is beyond anything you and I can do. We have to accept this fact, recognize that it is not going to change, and instead it will only develop faster and faster which will mean that a person specializing in hard skills alone will become less and less valuable.
In order to stand out, you need to do 2 things:
The first thing to do is to specialize in the hard skills that are important to your position and diversify them. Determine which ones are important to helping you stand out both now and in the future and don’t put all of your eggs in just one basket.
The second thing to do, which is more important to the topic of this article, is to begin to emphasize your specialties in soft skills and this will help you in a professional way, in relationships, and just in life in general.
My challenge for you is to think of someone who you admire or look up to and ask yourself two questions:
- What is it about this person that I appreciate?
- What soft skills do they have that I would love to embody?
Most of the time we look up to people because of the type of person they are, or how they make us feel. In a world where statistical analysis and mundane tasks are being replaced with technology, the people who are going to stand out are going to be the ones with valuable soft skills who are able to embrace new ways of doing things, think critically about situations, and bring a team together that will make it happen.
This shift from hard to soft skills has been happening for awhile now at a slow pace. It’s almost hidden in a lot of industries, but I believe it starting to happen much more rapidly.
I’m not saying this to scare people, but I want you watching this video to understand the ways our world is changing and become proactive to increase your soft skills because this will help you in more areas than just getting a better job.
On top of the pay increase, think of the joy that comes from living a life of integrity, being the go-to person to solve conflict, becoming a better communicator with your friends and family that will enhance your relationships and so much more.
Soft skills are becoming more and more important, so how will you level up today?
Pick one soft skill you want to improve and commit to developing it every month. If you want to become a better communicator, there are plenty of places to start based on your interests. reading a book like Donald Miller’s “Building Your Story Brand” might be your starting point, or you might prefer joining a local toastmasters group to improve your public speaking skills – it doesn’t matter how you level up, just start!
Are you seeing this shift from hard to soft skills happening in your industry? What soft skills do you think are most valuable? Do you agree with my reflections? let me know in the comments below.
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