What Are Soft Skills – Building Blocks to Career Success
I must admit I had no idea what are soft skills when I graduated from college. I quickly realized on my first job at McKinsey how my lack of soft skills were affecting my performance reviews. Here are some of the soft skills I lacked at that time.
Stress Management and People Management Skills – At 22 years old, I was assigned an assistant at McKinsey. I treated her horribly when I was stressed out and I was immature to think I have the right to since she worked for me. Needless to say, she was NOT jumping to help me all the time.
Confidence and Communication Skills – I was book smart and had great ideas on projects, but sometimes I was afraid to speak up when there were senior people in the room. I had no idea how to structure my comments and I didn’t have the confidence to think they would care what I think.
Soft play areas are a brilliant place for toddlers to visit for a number of reasons, not least because they are places which are incredibly enjoyable for them. If you want to see the benefits in your child, take them to soft play kmspicosoft areas regularly, so that they can continue to grow and develop.
Allowing your child to play in a soft play area may be essential for their proper development, because it provides them with a proper, controlled environment in which to test their limitations without risking serious injury. Although there are many special toys that a toddler can play with at home, soft play areas are much bigger and safer spaces. Because these areas have been designed for toddlers, they are soft enough to take a tumble in, without having to worry about getting hurt. It is much easier for a toddler to tumble in a soft play area than it is for them to tumble onto a hard wood floor or a rough carpet, as they would in the home. Knowing that they aren’t going to hurt themselves too much (other than the initial shock of falling) gives youngsters a much needed confidence boost to try out new things and develop their skills. They will be able to then transpose these skills to other environments.
Soft play areas have been designed to show children a multitude of different colours and shapes. All of the equipment which is included in a soft play zone will have been designed with a specific purpose (in addition to fun) in mind, even though you might not be able to identify that purpose at first glance. Brightly coloured equipment is always used because colours help to stimulate young children and stimulation can encourage brain development, which makes children more receptive to knowledge. Many of the pieces of play equipment can also be used for educational games, so your child will be able to learn about colours, shapes, numbers, letters and animals whilst they play.
As well as building their brains, play equipment can help young children to develop their motor skills. Soft play equipment such as ball pools and soft see-saws can help to teach children how to be more co-ordinated. They also help children to develop better spatial awareness skills. See-saw type toys help children to understand that the ways in which they use their bodies can affect other things around them.
Communal play areas help children to develop their social skills by allowing them to interact with other children. If your child does not have any other young siblings, this can be especially important, as it allows them to interact with people who are the same age as them. Building social skills at a young age is very important, as it can help children to communicate better in later life. In a play zone, children will learn important skills such as sharing and teamwork. They will also learn that playing well with others can increase their own level of enjoyment and happiness.
McKinsey expects Analysts to voice their opinions.
Resilience / Office politics skills – I was blamed for something I didn’t do on a project. It took me a few years to move on from this one. My manager succeeded in blaming me because he knew how to play office politics better than me. I had no close support from any partners.
After working 15 years in consulting dealing with all kinds of people, personalities, and unexpected situations, I have a much greater appreciation for how important soft skills are to achieve business and career success. So I would like to offer my own definition of “what are soft skills” in practical terms.
I believe there are five Building Blocks to Career Success – Professionalism, Work Attitude, Self Management Skills, People Skills, and Hard Skills. These five components are critical to finding jobs and succeeding on the job. Soft skills represent two of these building blocks and are the most important to your career success.
Self Management Skills – those we use to manage how we perceive ourselves and manage our reactions to unexpected situations. How can we succeed if we don’t project or feel confident to take certain actions? How can we succeed if we cannot control our angry response to a customer that complains all the time?
People Skills – those we use to influence how others perceive us, our work, our ideas.For example, we may have a brilliant idea, but if we can’t communicate it, no one will give us the support to implement it. If we worked hard, but no one knows about it, does it count? Probably not. We have to subtly self-promote, so that the right people can appreciate all of our hard skills and soft skills.
These skills cannot easily be learned in school. This is why there are many articles about why college grads with good grades and hard skills are not getting jobs or struggling in their jobs due to lack of soft skills. Seasoned professionals with solid hard skills also need these soft skills even more as they may be passed for promotion because they don’t know how to lead a team or influence office politics.
The good news is once you appreciate what are soft skills and their importance, you can begin to further develop them with practice, time, and guidance. Every next interaction you have with people at work is an opportunity to practice and improve.
Best wishes to your career. I am always in your corner.
Lei Han – Career Strategist | Marketing Executive | Stanford Undergrad | Wharton MBA| 15 years of business experience | I am passionate about helping you find, excel, and enjoy your careers. For more articles regarding how to improve your soft skills, go to my career advice blog – http://bemycareercoach.com – over 120 articles related to career development, job search, soft skills development, and work life balance.