“If you want to progress in your career, focus on your soft skills by learning more about yourself and by focusing on how other people perceive you.”
~ Dennis D. Doran
In this episode, I talked to Dennis Doran, a leading expert in the construction industry with more than 30 years of experience, and the author of the highly praised book, Soft as Steel, about the importance of valuing and developing soft skills to build relationships and succeed in business and life.
Here Are the Key Points Discussed on the Power of Passion for Your Profession:
- Soft skills are not really skills. They are your qualities, attributes, and behaviors, and are an indication to those you come in contact with in your day-to-day life of what your values are.
- Communication is a skill within itself and the principal skill that you need to develop and improve upon every day, regardless if you are an entry-level engineer or a partner at a firm.
- As you progress in your career, it is increasingly important that people get to know you so they can learn to trust you, over time.When building a career, you build one relationship at a time, doing the job, delivering the product, and serving the customer. However, all of the relationships you build inside your organization gets done over time. These relationships are what cements a great future for you.
- When trying to get a handle on the importance of soft skills, you first need to get a handle on yourself. You need to look at yourself honestly and develop honest self-awareness.
- The single greatest reason for conflict, both personally and in the workplace, is poor communication. Active listening is a critical component of good communication and is not just defined by the absence of talking. Communication is a skill, and it’s a skill that can be improved upon by practice.
- The most powerful way to influence people in a strong and direct fashion is by giving them the facts. Don’t just give them your opinion, or be vague in your response — give them facts instead.
- Good leaders are people who are competent, have valid experiences, and are good communicators. Great leaders understand, embrace, and value things that differentiate them. Great leaders don’t talk about leadership — they just lead. Their words and actions demonstrate important things that align themselves with the people they lead.
- A company’s expression of its values needs to be reflected by the leader. There needs to be an alignment in those values. Whatever the leader does, must be done on a consistent basis.
- Soft skills matter because we are people, and we build our lives with other people. We need to understand that every person has skills and abilities and the way their skills and abilities get applied to the common purpose of a business enterprise is by making sure people understand one another and that they value each other as people.
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