It is a fact that soft skills can help or hinder a person’s career, so it is always worthwhile to periodically evaluate one’s own personal behaviors, whether you are a CEO, employee or student. Take time to honestly assess your strengths, noting where you need to improve, using this soft skills checklist:
1. Do you have a positive attitude? Are you friendly and do you show enthusiasm on the job? Employers want workers who smile, are likeable and genuinely interested in their jobs.
2. Do you do what you say you will? This means following through and meeting deadlines without excuse or blame. If a delay is unavoidable, you inform your supervisor or client immediately and keep them apprised of your progress.
3. Are you respectful of other people’s time? Are you late to meetings or forget them altogether? Lack of respect is also shown if you’re not prepared when meeting with another person; this wastes their time.
4. Are you proactive? Do you take the initiative to start and complete a task without your boss having to ask you, or find ways to be productive?
5. Do you show gratitude to people who help you? Saying thank you to co-workers, your boss and customers is an important habit to cultivate, and employers appreciate those gestures.
6. Do you admit mistakes quickly and offer solutions? Countless celebrities and elected officials don’t and believe they won’t get caught. When they are, they deny their actions or blame others. Taking responsibility immediately and seeking solutions are ways to gain respect.
7. Do you help others and work well with team members? These skills are essential to get the done job done efficiently. Do you give team members credit when their good ideas move a project forward?
8. Do you communicate clearly both verbally and in writing? Surveys consistently show that communication skills rank at the top for skills desired by employers.
9. Do you listen carefully without interrupting? Often, people don’t pay attention, instead thinking how they will respond. They either break in the conversation to make their point or ask the person to repeat what he said. This behavior creates a negative impression in the workplace if directions need to be repeated because of not listening well.
10. Are you motivated to learn new skills? Reading about new subjects and being curious can open your mind to new possibilities, and perhaps the solution your team has been seeking.
11. How adaptable are you? Is dealing with change difficult or are you flexible enough to change course easily? Rapid changes brought on by technology, social media and the global economy mean new and more efficient ways of doing things may be thrown at you quickly. Can you adapt to them?
12. Do you avoid complaining? It is essential to leave personal problems and gripes at the door.
13. Are you honest? Employers must be able to trust you. Do you have integrity even when no one is looking?
14. Do you persevere? The ability to stick with something because it needs to get done – even when you’d rather do something else – is a soft skill that is essential to have. This skill is also important in problem solving. Do you think of several alternatives, or do you give up right away?
15. Are you creative? Do you stay with the same old procedure or solution because it is easiest and saves you time? Or do you think of new ideas, new possibilities?
This soft skills checklist can help you determine what changes may be necessary. Not everyone takes the time to look at their own behaviors. Those who do come out ahead.
Marcia Hall, founder and principal of Reputation COUNTS, is a soft skills and business networking trainer, and author of “Jumpstart Your Job: 12 Simple Ways to Shift Your Career into High Gear.” She is a member of the CONNECT! Coalition, a project of the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation and BWCC Foundation dedicated to connecting soft skills to success.
From: Home Town Annapolis