Soft Skills: It’s Not That Hard to Harness Them
In the professional world, certain skills are non-negotiable for success. If you’re a designer, you should have a good eye for design and some killer Photoshop abilities. If you’re a copywriter, you should be able to craft compelling sentences around any topic. If you’re a PR specialist, you should be able to pitch newsworthy stories. Ask any professional who has been at an agency for any length of their career, and they can give you a list a mile long of skills that make a good hire.
These skills, though, are what we call “vocational.” They’re learned and developed over a period of time either through traditional college degree paths or through experience in the industry. We tend to think of these vocational skills as the only ones that are instrumental for success. But what separates a good Visioneer from a great one? The answer is their soft skills.
What Exactly Is a “Soft Skill?”
A quick disclaimer: although the name might imply otherwise, there is nothing optional or unimportant about these skills. Soft skills are anything but — they are real skills, ones that are absolutely instrumental to success in all facets of your life and career. They are equally — if not more — important than a person’s vocational skills in the workplace.
A soft skill is, in essence, a skill that helps you work better with other people. More than that, it is a skill that helps you work better with yourself. Attributes such as effective communication, emotional intelligence, creativity, your ability to work in a team, your willingness to take risks or your ability to lead are all examples of soft skills that should be a priority in your workplace.
At Augustine, we value our Visioneers for more than their on-paper skills. We value their creativity, their enthusiasm and their fearlessness, among other things. Here are a few of the most valuable soft skills our Visioneers have cultivated to allow Augustine to thrive both internally and in dealings with clients:
- Empathetic and Clear Communication
Our Visioneers have the flexibility to work from anywhere. Because we are largely a remote team, it is absolutely imperative that we communicate as much as possible. Beyond our internal communications, a level of empathy is why we are able to maintain such close relationships with our clients. Over-communicating is always better than under-communicating, we like to say!
However, effective communication goes beyond simply engaging in conversations. The “how” is just as important as the “what.” Having empathy when speaking with another person, whether via email, direct messages or face-to-face, allows for a level of communication in which both parties are able to feel respected and heard. Consider how your tone, as well as the words you choose, might come across to the other person, and try to speak with intention and empathy in mind.
- Creativity and Fearlessness
A Visioneer works best when they can lean into their creativity. After all, that’s how we have been able to craft wow-worthy campaigns for all of our different clients across the years. Being unafraid to stray outside of the ordinary and be bold with your ideas is key to our ideals at Augustine. We foster an environment in which our talented team feels comfortable to speak out and advocate for their ideas, and in turn, those ideas have the potential to be our next award-winning campaign.
- Leadership and Team-Building
There’s a reason we call our team leaders “Advocates” instead of “Managers.” It’s because those Visioneers in leadership positions exemplify exactly what a team leader should be — someone who advocates for their team, encourages individuality and works to inspire those around them with their leadership skills.
Soften Your Approach to Soft Skills in Your Workplace
There is a common misconception that, unlike vocational skills, soft skills cannot be taught. However, just like any other skill, these incredibly necessary soft skills have a learning curve. It takes time to develop a strong ability to communicate empathetically, just as it takes time to develop the ability to understand industry data. It’s time to start paying attention to soft skills in your workplace and individually and honing them. You might be surprised at the amount of difference they end up making in your workplace culture, as well as your work with clients.