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If you think technical skills are more valued at workplace than people skills, you are sadly mistaken. When we speak about jobs for the future, it’s the behavioral skills that will matter the most. Technical skills can be acquired easily but imbibing soft skills or power skills as it’s aptly called takes a lot of time and effort. Philip J Hanlon, President of Dartmouth University and the man who coined the term Power skills justifies the name by saying that these are hard-won skills which are indeed powerful. I agree that the use of ‘power’ indicates something much more important, expressive and essential than “soft” does.
A Harvard, Boston University and University of Michigan study showed that training on power skills that included problem solving, self-awareness and interpersonal communication produced real results on metrics such as productivity and retention. The ROI on the skills training was 256%. Let’s look at 4 Power Skills, which, according to me is needed to succeed at work.
1. Curiosity & Critical Thinking- Curiosity is no longer a trait which can be attributed only to children. In fact, the new age corporate set up prefer to hire people who have the power of exploration. When we are curious about things, we think deeply and perhaps logically too. Curious minds gradually mature into critical thinkers. Critical thinkers are basically problem solvers or someone who have the ability to reason, which is a trait that is unique to humans and not machines who can merely produce and interpret data. So critical thinkers definitely have a competitive advantage
2. Good Communication-An employee with a good communication skill can express his thoughts in a lucid way, can engage his listeners and ultimately drive business success. If your communication skills are excellent, it can foster strong relationship with clients and team members. The gift of the gab if used in a measured is an effective toll to mitigate crisis or conflicts. Good communication skills should become an inherent trait of every employee for not only increasing business productivity but as an important skill for effective human interactions.
3. Decision making-People at the helm should undoubtedly possess this important skill however decision making is no longer a trait restricted to the top management of a company. According to the principles of management, decision making is about selecting the best of all possible alternatives. In fact, all employees have to make decisions, be it big or small. For instance, a recruiting manager must have the knowledge or ability to pick the right candidate for a particular role. This also involves a keen observation power and astuteness, which is one of the key skills a good decision maker should possess.
4. Emotional Intelligence– Like all other power skills, this can be learnt too. We know and recognize many great leaders around us. Their greatness lies in the fact that they have the ability to understand, use, and manage their own emotions in positive ways and those of others. They can easily can connect with people on a personal or emotional level. This consistently helps them in forging a strong bond with people. Mind you, this again is not a trait limited to leaders. In fact, there is a dire need for people at all levels to develop and work on their emotional intelligence as it helps them to stay calm and happy.
People with power skills are certainly in high demand today but unfortunately in short supply. The good news is all these skills can be learnt. People who are eager to move from their current work profile to aspirational ones can start by developing these power skills. If you are looking at unlocking your individual potential at workplace, then power skills can certainly pave way for your career success.