My husband and I have extremely high regard for good customer service. When we see a good example of customer service, we make sure we laud it and when we see some awful service, we also have it in us, to let people know that they’re being inappropriate. It feels like a social service, more like an obligation to us ;). It also feels as though the world would be a better place, when we have compassionate folks around us, who really understand another human being (how many times have you felt that?). The reason why I am using the example of customer service is because, firstly, we can all relate to it at some point and secondly, it what makes us experience “luxury, comfort, mediocre, good, bad or ugly.”
At the crux of any customer service lies the ability to understand the emotions and use them while interacting with the customers. Now, that applies to EVERY SPHERE of our lives too. Emotions, thinking process and our intellect affects us. Bottom line is, these days, hard skills such as having the knowledge of products (in case of customer service) or technical know-how of the industry or the field is not the only thing required, to sustain, excel and thrive at work. It might have been OK to only have effective and efficient hard skills in the 80’s and 90’s but now: Soft skills are the most crucial to develop. They help us differentiate ourselves from others, in this noisy, competitive market.
Think about this, from a toddler to a student, to a cross-functional employee, to a housewife, to a teacher, to a businesswoman(or man), to a celebrity… we are all looking for success, which multiplies or grows when we have impeccable people skills. The most important of these skills are: communications, salesmanship, leadership, courtesy & etiquette, lifelong learning, integrity and ethics, sociability, body language and attitude, conscientiousness, decision making, time management and creativity.
About 15% of people and organizations, today focus domain knowledge or technical skills and 85% of organizations focus on soft skills. It is definitely easier to teach people industry/domain knowledge rather than soft skills… because the former is easy and the latter is “tough” to acquire.
When was the last time that we were coached about using our mind to enhance our soft skills? We strategically need to hone our soft skills and it is only through practice that strengthen and sustain them. Though each skill individually has its own strategic method for development. These tried and tested strategies would help you initiate the practice of essential soft skills development in your daily life!
- Observe yourself first: At the core of embracing any kind of change or bettering oneself, is first to actually observe where our strengths lie, what are our weaknesses and what are areas that we can develop first, and what we could hone later. Once we observe our strengths and weaknesses, we’re in a better position to enable the positive change.
- Focus on on mastering one isolated skill at a time: If you’ve ever read, Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Marshall Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, you’d know that they propagate the idea of forming healthy habits and getting rid of unhealthy ones. Forming a habit takes at least 21 days, and if you try to do it all at once, you will fail in all. So pick one single area for improvement, it could be any of the above skills as per your need and develop it. The next few steps will tell you how.
- Set your goals: Understand and set out the yearly, monthly or weekly goal for your learning. What do you want to hone, how and why do you want to hone it. Reading blogs, enrolling yourself in training content and even in coaching can get you the best dividends. Smart goal setting is really important, to set out on any task and to effectively complete it, even if it concerns soft skills learning.
- Plan your learning: Once the goals have actually been set, it is crucial to implement insight into action. I recently happened to hear it from Marie Forleo that “insight without action is worthless” it holds absolutely true in this case. Learning skills requires time, effort and mental framework. It is a journey, which can be easily worked on and implemented when you have the right tools, information and mentor.
- Measure your skills: You can only know for sure that you’ve actually mastered the skills, when you can measure your outcomes. Practice the skills with someone and see how you perform on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the poorest and 10 being highest score. You will know it through reflection, how exactly could things be different, if you still haven’t mastered the skill.
Now, let’s hear it from you. Do you feel you’ve honed all the soft skills? If yes, how did you reach there? How did you learn them? Or have you come across a person who has been the best example of having the soft skills we need in daily life? How did that person behave and showcase the skills? Mention in the comments below on on the Facebook page. I would love to hear from you. If you’re looking for soft-skills coaching to reach higher in your workplace and success in life, then get in touch and we could work it out!
On Sunday, I’m sending out a great tool to aid your performance, sign up to get the resource, it will help you phenomenally.
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