I went to the library on the advice of a new contact looking for a book called Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It by Peggy Klaus, and drat it all my library doesn’t have it. But I did get a different useful book from Peggy, The Hard Truth About Soft Skills. (I love to support my library, and also get a chance to try out books before I decide whether I should buy them.)
We all know the importance of our thinking skills as knowledge workers, but it is good to actively think about the state of these skills, how current they are and how best to cultivate them to keep them relevant. This is a nice quick read, and broken up so you can dip in over the course of your library’s borrowing period.
“While hard skills refer to the technical ability and the factual knowledge needed to do the job, soft skills allow you to more effectively use your technical abilities and knowledge. Soft skills encompass personal, social, communication, and self-management behaviors. They cover a wide spectrum of abilities and traits: being self-aware, trustworthiness, conscientiousness, adaptability, critical thinking, attitude, initiative, empathy, confidence, integrity, self-control, organizational awareness, likability, influence, risk taking, problem solving, leadership, time management, and then some.”
In other words, technical skill and knowledge being equal between two or more people, the levels of soft skills between the people are what set them apart in a spectrum.
Taking that even a bit further, it behooves each and every one of us to keep these skills polished up at all times, on our own time and with our own money if necessary because this is an investment in self that will pay off. (Investing in you starts with you – and often these days, ends with you. Believing that you can’t increase your skill set because your employer is unwilling or unable to foot the bill is self-limiting.)
Plus, just like checking this book out from the library, the investment can begin just with your time.
Peggy is on my list of smart women I would love to meet, and Brag is on the list that I carry around with me for that off chance of time to wander a book store.
© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations