During my twelve year career as a corporate trainer, I have come across many aspiring professionals with sparkling academic records. Not all of them possess the required degree of soft skills to prosper in the corporate sphere though. In the following discourse, I have listed out eight critical soft skills that you need to develop, for rising to higher echelons of professional success:
- Ability to communicate – In order to be able to get your ideas and concepts across to your audience/stakeholders, having good communication skills is of the essence. You also need to be a patient listener, to be able to grasp what your peers and/or other corporate professionals might be saying. I would recommend young executives to undergo a detailed communication training course, to become conversant with all elements of effective business interactions.
- Critical thinking – Any good soft skill training expert would place extra emphasis on this factor. Competition is fierce in the contemporary world of business, and candidates need to have an analytic bent of mind – to be viewed favorably by their employers. You need to be able to size up all the aspects of a particular project or business scenario, detect problems (if any) and solve them with ease. Workers with critical thinking capacities lower the risk-element of business decision-making manifold.
- Empathy – If you wish to resolve workplace conflicts in a peaceful manner, empathy is something you need to have in generous doses. If you enroll for a course at a well-known leadership training institute, you will find out how you can put yourself, figuratively, in the shoes of the other person (with whom you are having a conflict), and look at things from his/her perspective too. Settling disputes between two or more employees/groups also becomes a lot easier, if the arbitrator has enough empathy.
- Being a team-player – As all corporate training professionals agree, individual brilliance no longer makes the cut in the business world. You need to be aware of your precise role and responsibilities in a team, and work in a manner that your entire group is benefited. The ‘I’ concept is long gone, and it is high time you incorporated the ‘we’ concept in your professional activities. Regular knowledge-sharing would take up your proficiency level, as well as that of the others.
- Flexibility – Too many of the present day corporate professionals (even those in senior positions) prefer to stay in their so-called ‘comfort zones’, right through their careers. This is never a good approach to take, particularly since work-related responsibilities can change at very short notice. The soft skill training lessons imparted at my institute are focused to improve the adaptability of workers, under varying work-environments, deadline-pressures, and other related aspects. Employees with static mindsets do not have much chance of prospering professionally.
- Task-prioritization – Gone are the days when you could take your own sweet time to finish working on one business project at a time. Work-pressures are increasing steadily, and corporate employees are expected to be adept at multitasking efficiently. Attending dedicated corporate training sessions would acquaint you with the process of prioritizing tasks in order of their importance – so that each one of them can be completed without any confusion.
- Positivity – No employer likes to have an employee who has a permanent frown on his/her face. Yes, challenges will be forthcoming – but you need to have the mentality to tackle them head-on, and come up with suitable solutions. I always advise my students to treat professional problems as exciting challenges – which can be overcome with a bit of effort and determination. Negative energy would get you nowhere!
- Self-starters – Motivation training and personality development sessions are arranged at many large companies on a regular basis. However, an employee should not rely on other people giving motivational speeches, to add that extra bit of vigor to their daily works. Once you complete a proper soft skill training course, you will inculcate the feeling of self-motivation – and it would definitely stand you in good stead.
Retaining an honest, ethical streak in your way of working would also help you earn the appreciation of your employers. With most big business houses having operations in the international markets, cross-cultural communication training has also emerged as a necessity. Thankfully, most of my students are extremely eager and receptive, and I focus on familiarizing them with all the soft skills that are sought after by the recruiters of top corporate houses worldwide.