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Soft Skills and Career Development

Reinvent yourself.

Everyone has a value. You are paid not by the time you give but what you bring to the market place.”

-Jim Rohn

I believe it is a dream of most of us to be good at our jobs although in reality it is a small percentage of us who really achieve that. I am blessed to have a cousin sister who is the Head of Recruitment and Career Services in arguably the largest Recruitment Company in the country. One month ago I invited her to come and speak to my Rotaract Club on career development. In her presentation, she gave an emphasis on developing soft-skills which can help a person achieve greatness in his/her career.

After the presentation I took the liberty doing my own reading (just to cover my baseand expand my knowledge). I came across a book called, “The 10 Laws of Career Reinvention” by Pamela Mitchell. In this book, the Author explains how the employers in past viewed their employees and how the current employers view their employees. Now, I won’t dwell on the past. But what you should understand is that currently, “YOU ARE VALUED BY WHAT YOU BRING TO THE TABLE”. It is as simple as that. We live in times where competition in the market place does not base on how long you have been there but what you are bringing to the market place.

This brief article tries to highlight some basic soft skills which may help to develop your professional life.

1. LEADERSHIP

Leadership isn’t about a title or designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for work and you have to inspire teammates and customers.”

-Robin Sharma

Last year a certain speaker was asked to train some company’s employees on leadership skills. The attendees included the company’s directors, managers and other employees. After introducing himself the speaker asked, “How many leaders are in here today?” Surprisingly, only the managers and the directors raised their hands. Other employees thought that they were not “leaders”.

Leadership starts with leading yourself before leading others. Regardless of your position, you are a leader. Practicing leadership is a great boost for your career. Showing this quality pays of in the long run.

2. GOOD COMMUNICATION

Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow.”

-Lawrence Clark Powell

The art of communication is the language of leadership.”

-James Humes

Whether you like it or not you are being judged every single moment. Everything you do generally affects your reputation. And here comes the importance of good communication skills. Be it writing a letter, an email, talking to clients/your boss/ your colleagues or maybe you are making a presentation, all come down to affect your reputation. And believe or not reputation determines whether you go up, stay the same or go down.

Good communication can be a mark for you. You can use this simple yet very important skill to differentiate yourself from the crowd of other employees. Read books, read articles, listen to something, learn some language skills and become awesome at it.

3. PROBLEM SOLVING

All my problems bow before my stubbornness.”

-Amit Kalantri

One day we were presenting a problem to our boss. To us the problem was close to unsolvable and we felt that it was out of our hands. Surprisingly, he gave us a solution in less than ten minutes and then he joked, “This is why I am a partner in this firm and others are not”. Now although it was joke, we all know that this joke has some elements of truth in it.

Myles Monroe said that to be a leader you have to become a problem solver. Becoming a problem solver in your work place is a skill that can make you soar. We are in a world where most people run away from problems. Your courage to face and solve them is highly valuable. By the way, the most paid people in any field are problem solvers. Become one and you’ll end up at the top.

4. ADAPTABILITY

Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more; si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi

-St. Ambrose

Literally, the above quote says, “If you should be in Rome, live in the Roman manner, if you should be elsewhere, live as they do there”. Now I do not advise you to lose focus and be like everybody else. What I mean here is, people usually feel comfortable with those they think are like them. People generally do not prefer outsiders as they see them as invaders. Your ability to adapt to the environment, to develop strong relationships with colleagues is an asset to you. It affirms that you belong to them and it is useful in your professional career development. But in all you do, never forget to keep your originality.

IS THIS WORTH THE TRY?

In our career lives we should understand that relying only on what we learnt at school and university will only create in our lives mediocre success. The hard truth is that we can earn a living, but in reality we are not creating anything nor making a mark in our own lives or the lives of others. I believe in many things and one of them is intentionality. We should intentionally learn who we are. By learning who we are we will be able to know where we fall on when it comes to our strengths and weaknesses. We should take time to learn these soft skills that help us in our daily lives. There are many soft skills and many books are written about them, many presentations and sermons are given teaching them. We should make a move and accept that success is what we choose regarding ourselves. WE ULTIMATELY BECOME OUR CHOICES.

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