So, what are soft skills exactly?
When we think of what it takes to succeed in the world of Salesforce, we often get hung up on the hard skills that it requires. We recognize that fulfilling a technical role calls for years of studying and practicing a set of technical skills. We need to go through the process of learning how to execute specific tasks properly. That much is obvious, right?
But far too often, we forget that those hard skills can only get us so far if we don’t also have the soft skills to back them up.
So, what are soft skills exactly?
While hard skills can be understood as the required technical abilities and factual knowledge to do a specific job, soft skills are a completely different ball game.
When we refer to soft skills, we’re talking about how we interact and work with others, how we resolve issues, and how we conduct ourselves in the workplace. These skills are generally difficult to define as they tend to be more closely related to human behavior, personal development, and character traits. Such skills include people skills, leadership skills, communication skills, and so much more.
Soft skills can best be defined as a combination of the abilities, attitudes, habits, and personality traits that allow us to do our best work. They are there to accompany our technical skills and impact our overall performance in the workplace. We should not think of soft skills and hard skills as being in competition, as one being better or more important than the other. Instead, we must consider how the two can work together and complement each other to get the best out of them.
What makes soft skills so important?
While technical skills are crucial to landing technical positions, it’s the complementary soft skills that can boost us to the next level. Often when faced with the choice between two knowledgeable and experienced candidates, companies will find more value in the candidate that possesses the interpersonal skills necessary to thrive.
For example, let’s imagine that a company looks to add another member to its team. Let’s say that the nature of the work is team-oriented and requires that all members work in unison to meet their objectives. In this case, it’s vital for the company to seek someone with the necessary soft skills to fit in and build strong working relationships with the other team members. This way, the team can continue to work efficiently and meet its goals.
Soft Skills at Four North
We conducted a poll to find out which soft skills were found most important by our team. Here are the top five soft skills as voted by our team members, along with our advice on how to enhance and improve each of those important skills.
We’re only human, and sometimes it can be difficult for us to explain ourselves – the same goes for our clients and fellow team members! After all, communication is a two-way street — it is vital that the message doesn’t get lost somewhere between the two parties. This is why good communication skills are essential in any Salesforce role. Knowing how to ask the right questions and making sense of the answers will significantly increase your chances for a successful project outcome.
Always be sure to choose the right communication tone based on your audience. Remember to keep the language simple – it is best to steer away from complex, technical details and to instead go directly to the point that you wish to make. Confront any issues, blockers, or deviations early, as delayed communication of these things can potentially increase costs and upset stakeholders.
When speaking with clients, it’s important to remain focused. Engage in these conversations, eliminate any distractions, and avoid multitasking. Be mindful and use an upbeat communication style, and hold off on giving too many “no”s. Instead, it is best practice to save the “no”s for when they are most crucial.
Being a team player, motivating and encouraging those within your team can put a positive spin on the overall team experience. Stay patient and show empathy to those around you. When we feel understood in a group, we are more likely to express our ideas freely and contribute to the group’s efforts.
One way to focus on improving this skill is by taking the time to listen and learn from someone else’s point of view. It’s a good idea for us to research and learn more management techniques for cultivating an inviting work environment where all feel welcome to express themselves freely. We can also learn about negotiation and conflict management techniques which allow us to foster a workplace culture based on values.
We can seek out or create opportunities to exchange information with our fellow team members, and we can plan and take part in different team-building activities. These can be done either virtually or online, and they are an excellent way to promote unity among team members. If this is something your company doesn’t already incorporate into its business practices, you might consider suggesting it!
Your approach to solving a problem is likely unique to that of the next person. This is no different when it comes to approaching Salesforce solutions. There are sure to be clashing ideas – varying perspectives on how to go about completing a project. Keeping an open mind, welcoming those new ideas, and seeking to learn from them will turn you into a more valuable team member.
Remember that your Salesforce journey is a never-ending learning process. The platform is always evolving, with new features and functions becoming available at each quarterly release. A candidate that is willing to keep learning about the platform and finding innovative ways to apply Salesforce products is more likely to catch a company’s eye.
Be curious! Don’t be afraid to ask your coworkers questions – get their opinions on the task at hand and let them challenge you to see that task differently. Learning to seek out those new perspectives will help you to become more comfortable with accepting and appreciating them.
Furthermore, staying up-to-date and knowledgeable of all that the platform has to offer greatly adds to your value as a Trailblazer. Be sure that you are following official
Salesforce social media accounts to receive news on all the latest. Continue your learning through courses as well, such as on Trailhead or through Salesforce Certifications, and always remain attentive to the seasonal release notes as they will keep you in the know when it comes to any changes or new features introduced by Salesforce. All of these things are certain to give you that extra push that you need.
Here’s a soft skill that applies to just about every aspect of life, both in and out of the office. People who maintain a positive attitude are best equipped to handle difficult situations. When faced with a problem to solve, they can remain calm, assess the information presented to them, and take the appropriate steps toward an effective solution. By working to create a positive environment for those around them, they can prevent minor inconveniences from blowing up into major issues.
As with any soft skill, it takes a significant amount of dedicated time and effort to cultivate a consistent positive attitude. We can start by consciously surrounding ourselves with more positive-minded people. They say that positivity is contagious, so this is a great way to ignite our own positive thoughts and go on to encourage more positive thoughts in others.
We should also work toward cutting negative thoughts and complaints out of our daily routines. This can be a challenge. So, we can begin by acknowledging our negative thoughts and complaints and finding positive ideas to replace them. Eventually, with practice, we can train ourselves to think more positively in general.
Organization & Planning
The skills of organization and planning are closely linked to our overall work ethic. These skills help us to manage our time, complete tasks in an orderly fashion and keep up with demanding work schedules and deadlines. Having exceptional organizational skills is also essential to preparing for any major Salesforce project – to make proper use of the company’s time and money, along with completing high-caliber work.
First, you can focus on keeping your desk and computer spaces neat and organized. By doing so, you make it easier to locate key information when it is needed. This way, you can save time and take one step closer to becoming a more valuable member of the team.
Then, and this is a crucial one, pay close attention to your time management. How long does it take you to complete certain tasks? How much time do you need to finish a project altogether? By keeping track of this information and using it in the planning of future endeavors, you’ll be on your way to becoming a more productive worker.
There you have it! Hard skills are principal to any Salesforce position, but soft skills are equally as valuable.
They are learned through consistent practice and well-built habits. They take time and effort, some self-analysis, and careful consideration. So, it’s important to be patient while working to develop and improve these skills. In the end, obtaining better soft skills allows you to complement those technical skills and become a more balanced, versatile Trailblazer.