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  • The Underlying Principles!

         Successful people have not done different things; they just did things differently - Anonymous
           This single liner is a vital key, in order to survive and succeed in the current highly competitive environment.  People who are quick to adapt, creative at problem solving and good at relation building are at high demand. Re-looking at the above quote, what it says precisely is, while it is important that ‘what you do' but what matters most is ‘how you do'. 

           This is the thin line between success & failure. In the past decade or more, the work environment has significantly changed; team work replaced lone workers; organizational focus shifted from product centricity to customer centricity. Hospitality, IT & Telecom sectors and their much faster pace in grown & business brought in ‘globalization'.  Along with globalization came increased complexities and uncertainties in business. This resulted in an obvious impact on the skills of people. Do a lot of people have that certain ‘I know not what' that inspires and motivates the people around them? Do a lot of people have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively? Are a lot of people good at managing their emotions? Do a lot of people have the ability to control a panic situation? Do a lot of people appear to pronounce ‘we' instead of ‘I'?
            And the Ancient Egyptians wrote "Be skilled in speech so that you will succeed. The tongue of a man is his sword and effective speech is stronger than all fighting". In different articles, Dale Carnegie quoted about soft skills; "Tell the audience what you're going to say, say it; then tell them what you've said", "There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it". Soft skills are sometimes classified into personal attributes & interpersonal abilities.

    Personal attributes, such as:

                    *optimism
                    * responsibility
                    * a sense of humor
                    * integrity
                    * time-management
                    * motivation
    Interpersonal abilities such as
                    * empathy
                    * leadership
                    * communication
                    * good manners
                    * sociability
                    * the ability to teach
            It's often said that hard skills will get you an interview but you need soft skills to get (and keep) the job.

           Soft skills that complement core competencies are in great demand.  Having said this, to move ahead in career the functional expertise alone is not sufficient. You have to build an equally strong competence in soft skills to become a prospective choice for an employer.  Soft skills refer to all those personal qualities and attitudes that make you a compatible and resourceful employee.  If you are not sure what skills matter most, here is a list of soft skills most preferred by employers across the globe:
     Being Positive
           Employees who can generate lots of positive energy and spread goodwill within the teams and in the organization as a whole are preferred by most employers.
    Communication (Verbal & Written)
           Absolutely essential skills to build necessary & good rapport with colleagues, superiors and clients. Good articulation, clear expression of thoughts, ideas and needs. The key to mastering communication skills lies in developing good listening skills.
    Crisis Management / Problem solving
           No doubt, technical knowledge gives you an edge in problem solving. But increased and ever increasing complexities in the business environment open doors to issues which are not so familiar and most of the times not visualized at all. So, here the creative ways of problem solving helps in.   The survival of the fittest applies very well here and in the favor of your creative abilities.
    Time management
           The current lean and mean trend demands (atleast expect) each one of us to consistently produce more in less time.  Prioritizing tasks in a multi-tasking environment is the most desired way of working. The more wisely you use your time the more successful you will be.
    Working in Teams
           It does not matter whether you're a team member, team lead, manager or even CEO of an organization, your success is defined by your team's success. To be a good team player you must be willing to cooperate, collaborate, share and most importantly you should be willing to put team / organization goals at a higher priority as compared to your own personal goals.
    Being confident
           This is a two-fold skill.  While it is very important to be confident in delivering what you're there for, it is equally, rather more important to show that you're that.  You can perform well only when you have a strong belief in your abilities. Ask the right questions boldly and at the right time, express your views candidly. Your learning curve should not stop or even pause; constantly update your knowledge base.
    Handling criticism
           This is the right word; but it's been called ‘feedback' in organizations.  Feedback sounds more professional but ‘criticism' is that bitter pill which cures several problems. One must be open to criticism; learn to take criticism well. Gain as much as you can from other's inputs. This will help you meet the expectations of people who matter in a better way.
    Adapt to Change
           Chang is the only constant; this is the principle which pivoted the world from where it was yesterday to where it is today and where it will be tomorrow. In my opinion, Flexibility is the parent skill of all skills; if this is learned and adapted strictly, every other skill follows. Flexibility is definitely an asset in this uncertain world and ever changing business scenarios demand that you adapt quickly to new situations.
    Withstand pressure
           Or crisis management or situation management; in a fast paced work set up, unexpected crises or scary deadlines pose tremendous stress. If you're caught by the stress, you lose the battle.
    Good Ethics
           Being meticulous and honest will help you gain the trust of your employer. Build a good reputation to grow in your career and protect it in the long run. Good work ethics are highly valued by employers especially in this age of falling morals

            Please note that these are the soft skills from 100,000 feet high.  Each of these skills were further explored to a set of skills (eg.: Communication Skills - listening, oral communication, writing & eMail etiquette and so on); each one of them are as critical and essential as any other soft skill.
            If you are already confident about possessing one ore more of these skills in some amount, polish them to perfection; nurture them to become an expert. In case you lack some of them, make every effort to fill the skill gap at the earliest because soft skills are just as important as hard skills for professional excellence.
            It is little bit more complex for people managing people. In general, people think that the manager(s) don't do anything, which mostly correct, as the manager's job is not to do but to get it done.  But, at the same time, the amount of responsibility, pressure and ownership the managers have is tremendous.  He / she is generally sand-witched between the boss & sub-ordinates.  The manager need to demonstrate a lot based on soft-skills, but in a different dimension.

                    * Managing People
                    * Managing Costs
                    * Project Management
                    * Leadership
                    * Management Skills
                    * Management Careers
                    * Business Ethics
                    * Women in Management
                    * Work / Life Balance
                    * Strategy Plans Organization
                    * Policies and Procedures
                    * Management Theory

            Soft skills are the underlying principles that trademark a company for professionalism and excellent customer service. They provide differentiation between all the cookie-cutter look-alikes and play a vital role in customer loyalty. In today's working environment, where customers and employees are demanding more, instilling the use of soft skills in your team members is something you simply can't survive without.
    When it's time to focus on soft-skills training as a tool to improve performance, leadership potential, and bottom line organizational success, consider the following:
            Start Slowly - Instead of getting a large number of people in a room and preaching to them about their soft skills - move slowly. Introduce the concept with an informative and fun workshop. The program should also be designed to enhance their skills.
            Involve People - Involve as many employees as you can on the decision to create a program, what to include within the program, and how to maintain the program. People support what they help create. Engage them, give them the possibility to make changes with your training curriculum, do a pilot program with key people, and use the pilot program as an introduction to the group.
            Seek Help from Experts - Coaches and Organizational Consultants are experts in building rapport and establishing the right culture for these initiatives. With the right culture and the appropriate training, managers can continue the task of training and cultivating good relationships.
            Recognize Individuals - There is so much talk about teamwork today that we forget to emphasize how important it is to praise individual achievement as well. From time to time praise your stars. Recognizing personal contributions to the team is an excellent morale booster.
            Know your People - All people are not the same, so their soft skills and strengths are not the same either. Know them all, leverage their strengths and differences, and illustrate how they can leverage each other's strengths inside the team to develop a new group "identity."

             The essence of your business is your people. Making soft-skills development a priority will bring your team to a new level because it focuses directly on them. By allowing the human aspect of your employees to shine through, you are encouraging them to do what comes naturally to them. Don't overlook these all-important skills when evaluating areas of improvement for your team. Find a way to incorporate soft skills into your leadership development programs and see results immediately

              By three methods we may learn wisdom First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest and third by experience, which is the bitterest - Confucius

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