Soft skills are one of the keys to long-term career success

Soft skills are one of the keys to long-term career success

Building a career is a long-term commitment and professional training and education certainly play a central role in this process; but is there anything further you can do to accelerate your career and move towards the goal of a senior business leadership position? 

Career success may not be directly related to your intelligence or whether you are hard-working or not; or whether you can play clever internal politics to get what you want.   

More than ever, we are increasingly aware of the importance of soft skills – those all-important people skills that enable someone to lead and influence through effective communication, building consensus, demonstrating creativity, along with the ability to analyse, negotiate and make decisions.   

But what other skills may add to your armoury of talents and that may give you an edge in career development, progress – and success? 

According to a Harvard Business School study, most business professionals do not fail due to a lack of technical skills but due to poor interpersonal skills. A high percentage of the problems encountered in the business world are caused by unclear communication, which leads to misunderstanding and conflict. 

How can an executive build and improve these interpersonal skills, alongside the technical skills and knowledge needed for career success? Coaching and mentoring might help of course – but can you learn to be ‘good with people’? 

It’s controversial but one area to consider might be Neuro- Linguistic Programming’ (NLP) which is derived from the field of Neuro-Linguistics and Professional Coaching and focuses on four main areas – proficiency as an influential communicator; developing Leadership Agility skills; applying professional coaching in engaging others to find previously hidden solutions and creativity; enriching and expanding your scope of people skills to understand and deal effectively with all types of personalities. 

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, the United States in the 1970s. NLP's creators claim there is a connection between neurological processes (neuro-), language (linguistic) and behavioural patterns learned through experience (programming), and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life. 

Bandler and Grinder also claim that NLP methodology can ‘model’ the skills of exceptional people, allowing anyone to acquire those skills. They claim as well that, often in a single session, NLP can treat problems such as phobias, depression, tic disorders, psychosomatic illnesses, near-sightedness, allergy, common cold, and learning disorders. 

There are a number of options of course but be sure to choose a certified trainer - the two most essential internationally recognized credentials are ANLP and ICF.