My first encounter with the subject of soft skills wasn't until right before I started teaching. I was reviewing the lesson plans nervously and obsessively before my first class and I came across an unfamiliar pair of words, "soft skills'. The lesson called for a series of videos all about the subject and I called the campus director to see if I could have access to them prior to the lesson. She allowed me to come by the school and pick up the videos to view at home to prepare. Before that point I had never heard of the distinction between hard skills and soft skills. After watching the videos I learned two very important lessons; 1) Soft skills knowledge was extremely important and I needed to know more, 2) There had to be a better way to teach this subject and not be so cheesy.
Understanding the difference between the two skill types is important so that you can identify the areas you need to work on. Soft skills and hard skills are defined as follows:
Soft skills-desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude.
Hard Skills-industry specific skills and techniques needed to preform services.
Once you call attention to the fact that each are separate, vital pieces to the "success puzzle" you will be on your way to becoming a better, more profitable Creative.
Which soft skills are the most important?
In the Creative Service Industry there are many factors to becoming successful and maintaining that success. Yes, your skills you learned in school that allow you to preform the services you offer are without question important, but it doesn't stop there. You must learn how to interact with the public, your fellow Creatives, and your leaders. You must also learn to present yourself in such a way that people will want to receive services from you, work along side of you, and hire you to work for them. Here are the soft skills that are the most important for our industry:
Your professional image
Managing your time
Working together as a team
Resolving conflicts with customers
Business knowledge and money management
Equip the right tools
Without a solid foundation of soft skills you will be ill-equipped to prosper in the Creative Service Industry. You must arm yourself with the proper knowledge and attitude to succeed in this business. In a recent video collaboration with Ivan Zoot, he explains a simple, yet powerful formula to measure your potential success. He explains that you if are rated on a scale from 1-10 on technical skills, and the same scale for customer service/non-technical skills you would need to get a combined score of 12 to succeed in our business. He also explains that he feels that if one of the two scores is higher than the other, you would need to score higher on the non-technical/customer service. I agree completely with his views on this and feel that if you are lacking in soft skills it is very hard to make up for that with your technical skills, but if you are great at customer service and people skills you can easily make up for a mediocre technical skill set. If you would like to hear more of what Ivan has to say and the great conversation I had with him the link to the video will be at the end of this post.
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."-Winston Churchill
As you are navigating your career and seeking out ways to improve, remember the quote above. Do not give up and always press forward. You never know where the path you are on will take you. I was able to travel across the country and pick up all sorts of knowledge along the way, simply because I decided to stick with my career whenever times got tough. I can say without a doubt that I would not be where I am today (literally and figuratively) without my career in the Creative Service Industry. I have my skills set to thank for that, yes, but I have seen the success that I have simply because I decided that soft skills were important, and I dedicated my career to perfecting those skills.
I challenge each and every one of you to learn more about yourself, and perfect your soft skills. You may not always like what you discover, but if you can power through the tough parts, the great parts will be fantastic!
"Build With Us" Future
The future of this blog is destined for success, however I will be taking a few months to focus my efforts on our up and coming written curriculum. We will resume regular posts when the curriculum writing process has been completed. In the mean time, we will be posting regular videos on our channel, "Collaborate With WK" hosted here on our website. Our first video is up and features Ivan Zoot! So stay tuned at BuildWithWK.com for more and more content.
Video collab with Ivan Zoot-"Ivan Zoot Zoom Sessions Pt. 1"
Want to be a collaborator?-Future Possibilities