Soft skills and personality development

Soft skills and personality development

To understand the link between soft skills and personality development, lets us first understand each separately. We will also see a common link between both. Further, this will help us to understand, how working on one will impact the other. You will also find the list of books and online courses to help you.

What are soft skills

Soft skills are a set of behavioural skills. Soft skills are our competencies which show our effectiveness as an individual, as a team member, as a partner or as a leader. Many people get confused with interpersonal skills as soft skills. Soft skills includes all interpersonal skills and in addition, it also includes individual skills which makes one more effective. 

“There is no set list (or definition) of soft skills that everyone embraces but there are a few that are commonly found in any discussion of soft skills.”

From the book “Proving the value of soft skills”

Soft skills can be grouped in to 3 core area. These are communication, individual effectiveness and management effectiveness. A clear communication is one of the most important life skill to learn. People judge your personality largely based on how you communicate with them. This includes both, verbal and non verbal communication. Individual effectiveness is important to get better results form your talents. This also helps individual to navigate through difficult times. On the other hand, management effectiveness is about how do you manage others. You need not be a leader to practice this. For example, how do you get work done from team members also shows your management.

Further, each of these core area requires a specific set of skills. For example, below are list of most common soft skills in each of the 3 groups.

Communication

  • Presentation
  • collaboration
  • Conflict resolution
  • Business writing.

Individual effectiveness

  • Time management
  • critical thinking
  • self awareness
  • Adaptability
  • Creativity

Management effectiveness

  • Motivating people
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • persuasion

You may also like: Are soft skills important?

What is personality development

Our personality is a combination of our qualities or skills. It is our attitude and behaviour that defies our personality. Our personality is not only about our perception in other people’s minds. It is also about how we think about ourselves.

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.

– Buddha

Many people believe that you get your personality from your genes, from your parents. As a part of our evolution, we learned about passing on our most capable genes to the next generation. This was important for survival during the earlier days of human evolution.

To clarify, Above justification about our personality is just a half truth. Skills which impact our behaviour and our personality can be learned and mastered with practice to develop our personality. We just need the right knowledge about these skills. Further we need to practice to improve on them.

Personality development is about improving upon our behavioural skills and our attitude. These skills are a part of soft skills. As per Wikipedia, “Personality development includes many things. Cleanliness of body, our behaviour in multiple situations, maturity of mind all comes in personality development”.

Soft skills and personality development

The common link between soft skills and personality development is our “behaviour or attitude”. Our behaviour and attitude defines our personality. Further, our behaviour is never random. It is always a stable pattern unless we work to change it. So people make perception about our personality based on our behaviour.

All 3 area of soft skills impacts our behaviour. While we know communication and management effectiveness are directly linked with other people. On the other hand, Individual effective also affects our behaviour. Our We get our behaviour pattern from our soft skills. So our behaviour is the common link between soft skills and personality. To work on personality development, you need to work on improving your soft skills.

Your beliefs don’t make you a better person. your behaviour does.

This establishes the synergy between soft skills and personality development. So Improving your soft skills and personality development goes hand in hand. They both are closely related to each other. In other words, you can develop your personality by improving your soft skills.

For personality development, you need to assess your soft skills or capabilities. So identify which skills you are strong at and which skills are your weak area. This further helps you to know which skills you need to work upon for your personality development.

How to learn soft skills and personality development

There is no one size fits all solution to learn soft skills and personality development. Since each of us might have different needs of improvement in soft skills. You need to customise your improvement plan. Follow 3 steps as below, to customize your learning path to learn and improve your soft skills and personality development.

  • Firstly, identify your strong and weak areas. Take feedback and work yourself
  • Secondly, gain your knowledge with Self Help Books, Online course, Appointing a mentor or coach
  • Last but most importantly, practice to improve and master your weak area.

1: Identify your strong and weak areas.

There are 3 major areas of soft skills. Individual effectiveness, Communication effectiveness, management effectiveness. These 3 area also impact our overall personality. These are already mentioned in the above list. Each of these area requires a specific set of skills. You only need to identify which skills you are already good at and which one needs improvement. There are 2 ways to identify your strong and weak areas. Firstly form feedback through others and secondly through introspection.

Be open to feedback.

Before you look for any external help to improve your soft skills and work on personality development, the first step is to be open for feedback.

Learn to be open minded and respectful to peoples opinions even when you don’t agree. 

Till the time you are not ready to open to feedback and ready to practice or work on improvement, all other ways of learning (like reading a book or taking a course) will only increase your knowledge. But it will not help you to improve your personality. So a genuine effort for personality development starts with taking feedback and working on it.

Be open to others’ feedback about you and your personality.

Introspection

In simpler words, introspection is self reflection. This will help you to process feedback you get from other. So once you get the feedback, do self reflection to get insights. In other words, compare feedback from other with how you believe or feel about your personality traits and your soft skills. Based on this comparison you can identify which skill sets you are strong at and which skill sets require improvement. Combination of feedback from others and your self reflection will give you insights about which skills you need to work upon for your personality development.

Once you identify your strong and weak skills, identify which area you need to improve. Move to the second step of personality development with the objective to work upon the weak area.

You will know your personality traits better when you accept the feedback from others and reflect your self thoughts on it.

Connecting with yourself and knowing yourself is Life Changing

– Bryant McGill

Knowing yourself better starts your life changing journey. Once you know what to work upon, you are ready to change your life with improvement in soft skills and personality development. Next steps will help you learn how to work on it.

2: Gain your knowledge with Self Help Books, Online course, Appointing a mentor or coach

Once you know what to work upon, the next step is to gain knowledge. While practice is important to gain soft skills, It is also important to get knowledge before you start practice. There are various ways you can gain knowledge about the same. For example, you may refer to self help books or enrol for an online course. You may also look for a coach or mentor. A mentor can not only provide you the knowledge but also will guide you during the implementation stage with feedback.

Books on soft skills and personality development

One of the most common help people seek is from self help books. Self help books are around us from more than 2 centuries. You will find many books which will help you to identify soft skills. These books will also give you few tips for personality development. For example, few of these books are listed below.

Personality Development and Soft Skills

Soft Skills Personality Development for Life Success- Second Edition (With CD)

Managing Soft Skills for Personality Development

Online courses on soft skills and personality development

For those who do not like to read books, you can enrol online courses. There are various online courses available to help on soft skills. For example, few of the courses are given below.

  • Coursera: Improving communication skills by Wharthon
  • edx.org: Skills for success professional certificate
  • Udemy: Soft Skills: The 11 Essential Career soft skills
  • Udemy: Radiate Confidence: How to Create a 1000 Watt Presence

Before you select which book to buy or which course to enrol for, it is important for you to know what skills you want to improve. This you decided already in the step 1. So you can focus on course or the book which gives important to what you want to learn. This is how you can customise your learning path and achieve great result.

3: Practice to improve and master your weak area.

Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.

– Anton Chekhow

Do not make the mistake of just reading books or completing your course and keeping your knowledge in your mind. Because if you don’t implement what you learned, it’s of no use. So start practising the improvement areas you learned. All soft skills can be mastered only with regular practice. You become what you repeatedly do. In other words, you need to implement them in your daily routine. Excellence can be achieved with repeating our practice. So keep looking for opportunities to practice what you learn. Whenever you are working in at team, practice your soft skills. It need not be only work environment for your practice. For example you can practice communication skills with your friends and family too.

Further, be aware about the change your practice brings. Keep looking for feedback. Since feedback at this step will help you to know if you are improving. Further it will also help to know if you are on the right path. 

In conclusion, Improvement in Soft skills and personality development are directly related to each other. Working of soft skills will improve our behaviour. It will further help us improve how do we manage people. Most important is, soft skills can be learned, improved and mastered for your personality development. Only thing to remember is this is a little slow process. Since it involves change in your behaviour, it will take some time. However, with regular practice it is easy to achieve.

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