Soft Skills are often referred to as “intangible” interpersonal skills that help people successfully collaborate, influence others and communicate. No matter what business you’re in, the ability to work with and connect with people is a strong point of differentiation between those who succeed and those who don’t.
Soft Skills are important for business success because they help you to be more persuasive, deliver better result, listen better and share with confidence. 85% of career success is driven by soft skills and only 15% is attributed to technical skills, says a Harvard Study.
If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to know how to work well with others. You might need a combination of soft skills to be effective at teamwork. It’s important to listen to others, know how to utilize your company’s human capital and inspire people to work together for best result.
While it’s certainly not only soft skills necessary for success, empathy is arguably the most important soft skill anyone needs when entering the workforce (and quite frankly at any point in your career).
A business is a lot like a healthy human organism- no matter how fantastic the brainpower of that organism. It’s the heart that pumps it up with oxygen and life. In a similar way, all the technological, sales and marketing skills that a business team possesses make up the brain of the company. The heart that makes those functions come alive and operate smoothly lies in learning top soft skills.
Soft skills make up a whole set of leadership, teamwork and character traits chiseled out to perform under pressure. Among the benefits of soft skills training are increased ROI and a highly productive working environment.
Communication is the chief intersection in your business journey. The daily meeting ground of the business leader, their team and clients. If there’s a “jam” at a point, it’s bound to create friction throughout the whole business journey. Mark Webster, Co- Founder of Authority Hacker notes the importance of cultivating in distributed teams. “Even through we’re an online business, we still set aside time slots to chat with our team and discuss what’s going on,” Mark says. “Every morning we have a daily standup call where we can discuss what everyone has planned for the day and the things which may get in their way- that way we can all discuss what each individual can do to help them proceed.”
An open environment doesn’t just communicate ideas better- it leads to better problem- solving. “When it comes to failures, instead of simply proposing a solution for them, we’ll dig into what exactly caused the failure and how we can work together to fix it,” Mark adds. “This leads to a much more open and communicative dialogue rather huge impact on the business as its get our teams to really think about what they’re contributing to the business.”
Negotiation may be the least favorite skill a business owner has to learn, but one of the most critical. As Victoria Pynchon writes, “Negotiation is a conversation whose goal is to reach an agreement with someone whose interests are not perfectly aligned with yours.”
Lewis Goldstein, President of Blue Wind Marketing identifies the importance of negotiation skills that can take any conversation past the paralysis of an initial “no.” “The important of negotiating can’t be understand.” It’s all about learning how to communicate effectively so both parties get what they want. In order to be highly effective in negotiating, you need to understand where someone in coming from. To do that, you need to ask calibrated questions and labels.”
3. Positive Mindset:
In a tough business environment, few skills are more universally acclaimed than an optimistic and positive mindset. Make no mistake: positivity isn’t about the number of smiley faces you attach to an email. Neither is it the failure to spot problems that makes it stand out.
Positivity is the top skills that Kimberly rather co- founder and president of talent plus an assessment provider with a 30+ year history of success looks for in new employees. “From the beginning, we have taken the selection of each colleague very seriously.” Kimberly says “and one of the things we selection for is positivity/optimism. This always needs to stay front and center as you build a sustainable culture. Your organization gets better or worse with each hire.”
- Active listening:
Remember how as a kid, you could always tell whether your parents are “active listeners” (fully involved in the problem you’re communicating to them) or “passive listeners” (murmuring “aha” while staring at the newspaper)
Stefan CHEKANOV, CEO and co-founder of BROSIX,, notes the importance of being the “good parent” to your team and clients. “It takes both skill and discipline to take the time to truly listen to a team member, customer, manager, etc.” Stefan says. “So often people begin reacting based on partial information or inferences they make, rather than trying to understand what the other side is really saying.”
Just like talent, business isn’t all passion and enthusiasm. The backbone of successful leadership is the unwavering discipline that humbly does its job through both the ups and downs.
Silicon Valley’s longest serving CEO, entrepreneur and inventor Ray ZINN, has been at the forefront of the tech industry since 1978. His secret? As Ray puts it, “Discipline is doing what you don’t like doing and doing it well-having the determination no matter how difficult a task is to do it correctly.”
For an online business with a distributed team of freelancers, things can get messy and out of control if the leader lacks strong skill in giving clear instructions. Running his own digital business, SAM ZUO, CEO of PASSIVEAIRBNB, does not waste a second of his (or his teams) time.
- Facing discomfort:
You’ve heard it before: if you want to do business, you’ve got to be ready to step out of comfort zones. Handling discomfort teaches entrepreneurs the importance of analytical but fearless decision making. It also helps strong leaders break existing rules in order to create their own.
Every entrepreneur is essentially a one-man orchestra that juggles countless tasks throughout the day. When you’re multitasking all the time, it feels easy to slip into “autopilot” mode and have your interactions with colleagues and clients turn genic. In order to run three business while also working as a freelance writer and author. I must employ a set of soft skills to make it all come together.
Each business success story looks kind of magical and spontaneous from the perspective of time. Behind each success story though, lie a great number of leadership, communication and other soft skills honed until they become second nature.