“Put your head down and just do the work!” is the worst advice.
Hard skills aren’t everything.
The people who are accelerating, growing, and succeeding?
They’re masters of soft skills.
- They’re able to influence others, sell their ideas and inspire action
- They’re agents of change, not solely plugging away at their desks, but doing the rounds on the room to get an intangible sense of what’s happening and what needs to change
- They’re in the business of building relationships (and aren’t afraid of the word “networking”)
For them, this isn’t optional behavior, but a must for growth because they know something you might not:
Soft skills are the leader’s hard skills.
They aren’t “just that kind of person” or “born with it”, but know what workhorses don’t: To get to the top, you have to get out from behind your screen and get your face out there in real time and in real life.
You have to develop leadership skills in order to be a leader, and that requires more than just a workhorse mentality. Anyone hustling hard day-in-and-day-out without building their leadership stock will eventually hit a ceiling. Pulling your sleeves up to your elbows will only get you so far. It’s a recipe and rhythm for slow growth.
Ask yourself why you haven’t embraced being socially strategic.
- What’s in the way of taking the time to build relationships?
- What are you afraid is going to happen if you put yourself out there?
- What keeps you from being seen?
From there, consider a few ways you can step into being socially strategic that feel like challenging, (but not impossible) micro steps.
How can you start prioritizing the softer skills you need to get where you want to go?