My father, while he was alive, had a driver that worked with him for about two decades before he, the driver had to move on to greater things that life had brought his way as a result of the exceptional human being he is. That driver became my father’s confidant and ally. He is a great man behind the wheels, but a greater one at heart. He conducted himself well around our home, and in my father’s place of work- a bank. He became a man that could influence my father’s decision, he had gained such influence by simply being a great, courteous, committed, and dedicated human being. He was a professional driver.
Look around you and you will find people whose jobs are ‘lowly’ but whose influences are great on their bosses and in their offices. They come every morning bustling with life, radiating warmth, charming and brimming with confidence. Beyond being satisfied with what they have, on the way to where they are going, they see the value in treating every human being with dignity, presenting themselves with some class and dignity and they are not nasty… just feeling good and sharing the same. These kinds of people are assets to organizations and groups, and they become indispensable.
Many professionals want to be best at what they do, but forget to be the best at being who they primarily are- humans, like every other person. They invest so much in training on the newest software and latest certification forgetting that the quality of your personality and character is that one thing no one else can duplicate. There is always someone who can do what you do just as much as you can, even better, but no one will do it “how you do it”, and that is your trademark. The factors that set you apart are the soft skills you possess, the quality of your humanity.
When you dress well, you are telling others that you value yourself and consider the prospect of meeting them or being in their company worth preparing for.
When you speak with courtesy and caution, letting the other man have the airspace to speak and be listened to, you show that there is value in what they have to contribute, and you are willing, if not able to be of help.
When you act with civility at work or at home, you show that the world is big enough to be shared.
When you learn to spot the emotions influencing the actions of people and you respond to it, you are communicating attention and care.
A famous quote by Ratan Tata says “If you walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.” To get anything worthwhile done in life, you will need the help of people. No great vision is accomplished in isolation; so you can’t keep being a skunk and expecting people to stay around you.
A company that values its customers will stay alive for a long time, even as its products change. It’s all about people and how we treat them. The best organizations to work for are not necessarily the most capitalized, or the ones with the strongest structures, but the one that treats its workers well.
If you have been struggling to get results at work even when you know your onions on the job, check how you have been relating with people and how you have been presenting yourself and your ideas. Once you can tweak these soft parts of your job positively, it will reflect in your results
Having well developed soft skills gives you influence, and influence gets people to do things for and with you, without feeling used.
So, again, what’s soft got to do with it?