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Soft Skills Are Hard to Assess. And Even Harder to Succeed Without.

Stashed in: Emotion, Management, Jobs

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The author says we should call them non-technical skills because "soft skills" undervalues them.

  • Consistently completing high-quality work on time
  • Collaborating with cross-functional groups on major projects that require technical compromises to hit deadlines
  • Making presentations to customers, executives, and other internal teams
  • Persuading others to consider different technical points of view
  • Appreciating the end-user's perspective from a UX and design standpoint
  • Coaching and being coached on technical and non-technical matters
  • Taking direction from project managers in a matrix environment
  • Working successfully for a variety of managers, each with their own unique style
  • Remaining flexible enough to handle rapidly changing design requirements, yet still hitting deadlines
  • Making tough decisions with limited information and often dealing with ambiguity
  • Challenging conventional wisdom and authority
  • Helping team members who are struggling
  • Taking over without being told a project that's in trouble
  • Managing multiple projects to a timeline
  • Meeting budget restraints
  • Prioritizing with little direction


Do your best managers have the strongest technical skills in the company? Or do they excel on the soft side? 

"Soft skills set our best managers apart."

Is it possible you have excluded some candidates with extraordinary soft skills because they didn't meet your company's benchmark for technical brilliance? These are the people who would have become your best managers.

My client refused to answer this question, but the look in his eye was a definite "Oops!"

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