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Why Soft Skill Development Will Be A Success Factor In Your Growth This Year

  • April 12, 2022

Last week, I watched an old comedy re-run and interview featuring Joan Rivers, an iconic U.S. comedian.  

During the interview, she shared a quote; “life doesn’t get better; you get better”. As you manage your way through the relevant training for your job and/or education required to progress, you also need to work on the core skills you carry throughout your working life. 

Enter the ability to develop your soft skills. 

Soft Skills For Growth 

Functional or hard skills are one skill area to develop. Yet, the skills that make the most difference to accelerating your career or growing your business are the ‘soft skills’ that will help you manage your mind, communicate well consistently, and influence your team to improve their performance. 

Here at Clayton Recruitment, we help our clients craft role descriptions for candidates who are critical for their firm’s growth.  

Alongside this, we assist candidates in developing their careers where we consistently share the softer skills that need to be developed. 

Self-Awareness 

One of the key challenges when managing and developing a team is a lack of self-awareness from the employee.  

You will hear the term emotional intelligence shared in many circles. The term was defined as a person’s ability to manage their feelings and to express those feelings appropriately and effectively.

The original book on this topic is worth getting from Amazon by Daniel Goleman. 

Who has not come across a colleague in the business who has zero idea about their impact on others? Only last week, a candidate approached us looking for a new role because of the behaviour of a new manager in the business; yes, managers can lack self-awareness too. 

It appears that every morning the manager in question would appear with a sore head, grumbling and snapping at people. The individual had no idea how his behaviour affected the team. 

Self-awareness also covers motivation, empathy, self-regulation, and appropriate social skills. 

Communication Skills 

All professions include varied people with effective communication skills and some that don’t hold the ability to have a conversation. Summing up a procedure to employees with jargon-free lingo are all expected skills for someone to hold. However, talking over a team member in a meeting does not demonstrate communication excellence. 

A large part of being a great communicator is the ability to listen. We can all tell the difference when someone hears the words you are saying or when they are actively listening. 

As an experiment, notice how often people have their phones open during conversations or look over your shoulder at other people and what’s going on when speaking with you; worse, they sit on the edge of their seats waiting to interrupt. 

I hope I have not just described you. 

Active listeners, meanwhile, pay close attention to meeting presenters, offer up clarifying questions or responses, and refer back to notes in future discussions. They do not need things repeated to them because they heard them the first time, making active listeners respectful colleagues. 

Openness to Feedback 

This might sound like a different soft skill, yet a lack of openness to feedback often indicates an individual is stuck in a pattern and unwilling to learn. 

The ability to accept developmental feedback is critical for all of us; otherwise, how will we improve? Think about it; constructive feedback will help you do the best job possible when it comes to your role, and yet often, people take it personally and react defensively; when this happens, feedback is not heard. 

No one is ever perfect, no matter how long they have been in a role. Reflecting on this, when did you last ‘overreact’ to feedback? 

Growth Mindset 

Having a growth mindset leads to the ability to accept feedback. Individuals with a growth mindset see feedback as the gift that it is. 

Their mind is focused on what is possible rather than what is not. No matter what role, you will encounter roadblocks, disappointments, and other situations that might frustrate you. A soft skill critical to your ability to persevere is having a growth mindset. 

Dr Carol Dweck conducted the original work on this several years ago. Her book is well worth reading to identify if you have a growth or fixed mindset. 

For instance, someone with a growth mindset who did not achieve their billable target would look at this as an opportunity to double down and focus on what they could do differently in the next quarter. 

Whereas someone with a fixed mindset would see this differently, complaining that the target was too high, the clients they were working with were demanding, and the list of complaints goes on. 

Adaptability and Flexibility 

The last few years have been a challenge for many, yet certain employees have stood out above others; Two words describe them. 

Adaptable and Flexible. 

No matter your role in your business, the ability to adapt to change and a positive, flexible attitude about what is happening never go unnoticed. 

Many people have no idea how negative they can be when something does not go their way. Worse still, they become a classic mood hoover. 

Fact: Our business landscape is changing, and no matter what role you hold in an organisation, you have to be willing to adapt and change. 

In summary, soft skills focus on developing a positive can-do attitude. A well-worn statement, I know, and yet developing abilities like this will help you navigate most things that are thrown your way while making you stand out as a potential new hire for a firm (as well as being areas to focus on if you are indeed in the hiring seat, and looking for a standout candidate to bring on board). 

How Can We Help? 

Here at Clayton Recruitment, we have multiple clients looking for skilled and ambitious candidates to join their teams. For a confidential conversation about your career goals and your next move, please contact one of one of our team here. 

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The Ultimate Guide to Being Productive When Working From Home

  • March 29, 2020

March 2020 will be the first month that many people in the UK begin working from home on a scale that has never been witnessed before.

While the coronavirus has disrupted across the UK, you can be just as productive (if not more productive – more on this later) as you usually are.

The initial challenges that making a move to remote working throws up can be easily ironed out. And just as you quickly got into a routine in your current workplace, remote working is no different.

In the last 15 years, the number of people who work from home at least one day a week has increased by 35%. What might feel unusual for you at first is the norm for many, and it is entirely possible for you to settle into a working routine from your home.

In this blog, I will share my top tips to help employees maintain, and even increase, productivity when adapting to working from home for the first time.

1. Recreate Your Desk

While this might not be entirely possible, aim to recreate as much as you possibly can. You can even bring pictures from the wall, your same mug and mouse mat to help you feel in your work ‘zone’. Don’t work from your sofa (or your bed) under any circumstances – keep these as your ‘home’ areas.

2. Keep the Same Hours

This means getting to your desk at the same time, having your lunch and breaks at the same time and leaving at the time you usually do. Shower and get dressed just as you normally would do – and keep the same alarm to get up at your usual time.

3. Contact Your Colleagues and Manager More Than Normal

In the office, you might go nearly a day without speaking to your colleagues or manager if there is no reason for you to do so. Remote working means you are more likely to feel lonely or isolated, and this kills productivity.

Check-in regularly, even if there is no pressing reason to do so. Saying hello now and then via a message or email will help you to feel connected.

4. Connect on Video

Using video technology such as Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp is a must to keep productivity levels high.

It is much easier and faster to share ideas and advice over video calls with your colleagues and your manager than back and forwards via email – so bear this in mind if you come up against a problem you need a solution for.

5. Set Boundaries with Your Household

You need to have space where you can work uninterrupted. Much of the UK is now at home; so, I appreciate you might need to negotiate who works where – good luck with this.

Find a spot in your house to set up your workstation where you will not be distracted (a spare bedroom, less-used living space, conservatory, the loft etc.) and set boundaries with your family or housemates.

Explain that during the hours of 8-5, or 9-6 you are ‘at work’ and stick to it. Allow for family time before, at lunchtime and after work just like you would typically do.

6. Avoid Distractions

It should go without saying, but many people get tempted by their home comforts when they work from home. Don’t turn on the TV to keep up with the news, or your favourite music – it will only serve as a distraction.

However, scientific studies have found that a little bit of background noise can increase your productivity. There are many YouTube channels which focus on music for concentration or tune in to a relaxing radio station at a low level; both are workable ideas.

7. Embrace the Change

Finally, what I would like to say to those embarking on home working for the first time is – relish this opportunity!

While some people go into remote working concerned about productivity levels, this is actually a real chance for you to increase productivity and produce some of your best work. There is a good chance your home set-up will be quieter than your typical office, and you are likely to feel relaxed and safe at home – a great situation for your creativity and productivity to flourish!

Finally

The current situation in the UK for businesses is changing continually – has your working situation changed in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?

If so, and you’re looking for a change of employment – we can help.

We are looking for candidates right now for a variety of commercial roles across the North West. Contact us today on 01772 259 121 or using our contact form here.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989 and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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