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Crazy Smart Mentoring Topics: Soft Skills Assessment

how to measure soft skills in the workplace

Crazy Smart Mentoring Topics: Soft Skills Assessment

In today’s global marketplace, a new project team will likely include new hires and remote workers. The innovation cycle has been reduced from years to months – and even days, in some markets. Every once in a while, someone emerges that energizes the team, communicates with inspiration, and seems to pull solutions from every pocket. Those rare overachievers have one thing in common that every employer is desperately in search of: well-developed soft skills. And it’s no surprise: research suggests that a command of soft skills increase an employee’s productivity to an exponential degree. In other news, water is wet! Everyone possesses ‘soft skills’ in some capacity, with some skills far more developed than others. Do you know the most valuable soft skills at the workplace, and have you ever had someone else offer a candid assessment of your soft skills? Fortunately, a mentor is the ideal person to provide you their perspective on your soft skills capacity.

But first: what are soft skills? According to Indeed.com, soft skills are behaviors and personality traits. “Unlike technical or ‘hard’ skills, soft skills are not about the knowledge you possess but rather behaviors you display in different situations.” Soft skills are often called the “E.Q.” or the emotional quotient, in contrast to the I.Q. It’s how you interact with the world – and how you respond when the world interacts with you.

Here the top six most in-demand soft skills in the office, according to LinkedIn:

  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Teamwork
  • Punctuality
  • Critical Thinking
  • Social Skills

 

Think you’re Einstein in the E.Q. department? Think again. The same survey found that 58% percent of hiring managers believe the lack of soft skills is ‘limiting their company’s productivity.’ That’s why it’s a great idea to schedule a meeting with your mentor, ask them to think deeply about your soft skills, and then provide you a frank and honest assessment. You might ask your mentor:

  • What would you consider my strongest and weakest soft skill?
  • How would you rate my effectiveness as part of a team? Do I have a default role?
  • Am I concise when it comes to communicating complex ideas?
  • Do I rely excessively on a particular soft skill?

 

Beyond the Assessment
Review your mentor’s assessment with total earnestness: genuine candor about one’s behavior and attitude in the workplace is very hard to come by! Celebrate the soft skills you bring to the table, and discuss with your mentor how they have served you well in your career. Then, seek out a colleague whom you think is in total command of the soft skill or skills you wish to develop. Make note of their behaviors and style, and try emulating those words and deeds to see what new avenues open up for you at work. Return to your mentor and ask them about their soft skills, and how they may have developed them over time.

Soft skills are notoriously hard to assess, but the mentee/mentor relationship presents the ideal place to establish a baseline understanding of your skill set, and then begin to help you develop these prized intangibles. If you do not have a mentor that knows you well enough for a soft skills assessment, you might seek out your HR department to see what kind of mentoring resources they can offer.

Additional Resources on Soft Skills:
How To Develop And Train For Soft Skills In The Workplace (eLearning Authority)
Data Reveals The Most In-demand Soft Skills Among Candidates (LinkedIn)
Can You Really Improve Your Emotional Intelligence? (HBR)

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Mark Brodbeck, MSW
mark.brodbeck@ementorconnect.com

Director of Marketing at eMentorConnect. Passionate about people intent on elevating others, and other examples of enlightened self-interest. Frank Sinatra said it best: 'It's one world, pal. We're all neighbors.'