As a programmer, you can do a lot of things that other people can’t. If you are a corporate software programmer, you would have a very logistic approach in problem finding and decision making. But there are some skills that many of the technical folks lack and specially the developers, because they have mostly interacted with computers that don’t talk or feel. And the skills I am talking about are soft skills.
The attributes to interact effectively and harmoniously with society, comes under the category soft skills.
Why Soft Skills Are Important?
Before going into the discussion of improvement in soft skills, it is very imperative to know why there is dire need to improve them. Well, one answer is that employers are hunting for those candidates, who have sound hard skills with good communication and interpersonal skills. So, now you know it imparts in getting a job. After getting the job, are you going to end up quiet? No, you would have to communicate, sometimes, you would have to make important decisions.
Communication is key
Most of the software houses have different teams in which people work. If you are hired as a programmer somewhere, how come you survive without any communication skills. Suppose your boss calls your team to brainstorm some ideas to resolve a project issue and you have an incredible solution in mind and you are happy that by this idea may be you would get into the good books of the boss or you would get a raise. And then what happens, because of lack of confidence and communication skills, you didn’t promulgate it well. And some other sharp person, got it from you, explained it well and took your raise or admiration, what did you get? Nothing, a feast from the one being promoted? Ask yourself, is it what you wanted? No!
This scenario completely explains why communication is key. Whenever you are talking, sometimes people are not even seeing you, but if your voice is confident and you have the capability to promulgate your thoughts effectively, they get impressed. It is imperative to work on your communication skills and build self-confidence.
Leadership Is Management
Let’s say you worked on your communication skills and now you are an effective communicator too. You have got years of experience but you are still a junior developer or you are not excelling. Look inside you again where you have been lacking. For any managerial post those people are selected that have the guts to direct people with inspiration and empathy. Maybe you have nothing to inspire. Maybe you are too impatient to deal with a bigger crisis. Again work on yourself and try to inculcate some leadership and interpersonal skills in you. Be humble and patient. Try to take the first step when no one is going into the battleground.
Ok! no need to get worried, we can develop these skills with practice.
How To Improve Soft Skills
Some people think that soft skills are God gifted. Confidence, communication capability and leadership all these traits either come directly from the sky or they are inherited. These just can’t be improved. Yes, soft skills can be God gifted but it is a myth that one can never improve them.
If You Want To Become A Conversationalist!
If you want to develop good communication skills. Here is something you need to do.
Pick Up A New Skill
Conversational skills can improve when you communicate with different people. As you are a programmer, the job needs your hard skills too. It can be a very smart strategy to learn a hard skill, to improve your soft skill. Surround yourself with people who knows some other skills you never practised. You can seek their guidance while working on a project. This activity will develop one more thing; Self Confidence. As you would have to leave your comfort zone to learn and practice the new skill. So, we can say it’s a bonus, by learning one thing, you are mastering two other skills.
There is a big world beyond the screen of the computer. Maybe you were never able to observe it. But as we are working on ourselves, let’s see what the world has gotten for us. Go out, socialize and try to communicate with people. Don’t always tell your own stories, listen to them too. This will give you empathy, you will be able to observe things with a different perspective. And empathy is very important to grow leadership skills. See, everything is connected, if you lose one element, you just break the whole connection.
There is another key note, never ever miss your companys’ events. Those events provide a floor for a very sophisticated and healthy networking. There you can make new friends in the same career field. That may help in future.
If You Want To Become A Leader!
Leadership is somehow complex to understand, people think it’s the bossy attitude and nothing else. But, No, leadership is empathy, integrity and management. It is taking the step when everyone is backing off.
So, what can you do to make yourselves better? Here is something you can try.
Take THE INITIATIVE
Step forward, when the whole crowd is backing off. Sometimes, while working on a project, certain conflicts can arise. It can be the new technology that everyone is scared of to learn, you can take the initiative there. You can calm down your boss that you will learn it and you will proceed with it. This is leadership and you will see the impact of this attitude on other team members. By observing you they will start following your tread even without asking.
Volunteer Other Teams
If the colleagues of some other team are worried about anything or the same new technology problem has aroused among them and they are running out of time, you can give your services to them. I have already explained the concept of empathy, this is empathy, you tried to help someone with your services. Again! you will make a good bond, self confidence will raise and you will get in the good books of higher officials.
Pick Up A Mentor
Make a mentor, talk to someone whom you have been admiring and invite him to be your mentor. If he accepts it, there you go, now you can have an experienced opinion for your every other problem but don’t be clingy, respect their personal space and privacy too. This can be helpful for all sorts of soft skills.
The crux of this very long discussion is; being a programmer you can survive with all the technical knowledge you have got in your head but you can’t excel with just hard skills.