5 Important Soft Skills & How You Can Nurture Them

Soft skills not only enhance your personality, but they are also strengths that serve as valuable professional assets. Researchers say that over 60 percent of managers agree that soft skills are the most important when evaluating an employee's performance. Further findings suggest that hard skills contribute a mere 15 percent to one's success, while 85 percent comprises soft skills. It goes without saying that, "Today you can't just do what's in your job description and expect to be rewarded for it. You need to go above and beyond, and that's where the importance of soft skills comes into play," quotes Dan Schawbel, Managing Partner, Millenial Branding, author of the international bestsellers, Promote Yourself and Me 2.0.

So have you already been hired and are looking for ways to take your performance to the next level? Well, enhancing your soft skills can be the answer. What's the next step? Seek professional advice?! Now this is where we can help – by getting experts and international faculty of the Achieving Personal Excellence (APEX) program Ms. Puravi Hegde and Ms. Radhika Srivastava—to share with you a few secrets on nurturing what are, in our opinion, the 5 most important soft skills. The APEX team inspires individuals, ignites teams, and transforms organizations worldwide through its personal excellence and leadership programs.

Your 5 steps to success…

#1 Communicate Effectively

Enhance Your Expression

As we climb the organizational ladder, effective communication takes precedence over all other things. "If you wish to change your expression, it needs to happen at a deeper level—the level of perception and thought—only then will it be long lasting," shares Radhika Srivastava.

How can we bring greater clarity in the way we express ourselves? Our suggestion is by being calm. And an effective way to be calm is to meditate.

"Meditation brings clarity in thought and intellect, and an obvious benefit that stems from the heightened clarity is an improvement in all aspects of communication—whether it is how we perceive, observe, or express ourselves. It also adds the elusive ability to communicate with one's presence, something that speaks louder than even the most flowery of speeches," quotes Puravi Hegde. This is one aspect.

Be A Good Listener

The other is to listen properly. At times, gaps in communication surface not just from a lack of clarity in expression, but also because we might not hear what we need to. Have you noticed that at times when we dislike someone at the workplace, we tend to create mental blocks where they are concerned? This stops us from clearly understanding what they have to say. We might even tend to overlook their suggestions, as we don't think they are so worthy or important. However, when we are calm, we are more aware and hence less biased; we tend to drop unnecessary resistance, and this helps us truly understand what is being communicated, thereby eliminating communication gaps.

#2 Place Team Success First

Quite naturally, we'd all like to give our careers that much-needed boost at regular intervals. In this process, we could sometimes tend to view our successes as being different from those of the team and thus place them ahead of the team's success. How often do we put our team's, and better still, our organization's success before us? is a pertinent question we would do well to keep asking ourselves when working in an organization.

In one of his addresses, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar talks about the interconnectedness between an organization and devotion. He says, "Organizations and devotion are opposite in nature. They don't go together, yet they cannot be apart or exist without each other. No organization can rise without devotion." In other words, a team's success calls for devotion from each member. If your team is progressing, so are you—and that's a definite benefit, isn't it?

For instance, there might be "debacles" at work sometimes that need your special skills, but might not even be counted as an addition to your resume. At such times, you should consider placing the team's success as paramount, and contribute to achieve the team's goals within the set deadlines.

Puravi Hegde shares an important insight on team effort and meditation: "Meditation helps us drop the "I", allowing us to move from "mine" to "ours" and brings us to a natural state of sharing—whether it's ideas, best practices, resources, or credit. This attitude ensures sustainable success for the team and the organization as a whole."

Read about three more soft skills in the sequel to this piece

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