Published by: 16th December 2019at
Filed under: Uncategorised
What do we all learn at university about running a business or managing a team? If you are like me, very little. I’m a qualified Landscape Architect and undertook years of training to reach chartered level, but that doesn’t help me run a business, manage clients or stakeholders and look after the welfare of our staff. These are skills that we intuitively have or learn though experience. They relate to your attitudes, your intuitions and more personality-driven.
As an employer, we are not only looking to recruit someone who is creative and technically competent, we are also looking for candidates who have soft skills; these are the more intangible and non-technical abilities, they are the transferable skills or professional skills
Soft skills, which may seem basic to some, are difficult for employers to find, so they’re impressed by applicants who can demonstrate a strong set. There are too many soft skills to list them all, but here are some examples of soft skills that employers most appreciate:
- Communication – A landscape professional needs to be able to communicate the benefits of approaches simply and clearly. Ideas have to be communicated to clients and stakeholders and often requires some public speaking.
- Rapport Building and Networking – this skill extends across all parts of a business from building your own relationships with fellow professionals to representing your organisation by building relationships with clients and influencers.
- Leadership skills – Managing and motivating a team. Leadership also requires planning, supervision, coaching, decision making and delegation skills.
- Art of Influencing and negotiating – Some people sit around wishing things were different and moaning there is nothing they can do about it. Influencers are different — there is a positive energy about them. They generate a buzz about the things they want to change. They have the ability to gain support, inspire others, create relationships — but more importantly they engage people’s imaginations.
- Managing time and pressures – Time management is closely related to the ability to work under pressure, as well as within tight deadlines. Professionals who manage their time well are able to efficiently prioritise tasks and organise their diaries, while adopting an attitude which allows them to take on new tasks and deadlines.
- Teamwork – It can be harder than it seems. For those who believe that they know how to do the job and don’t have faith in others to do their part, they can create tension in the office and hurt the overall efficiency. Learning to trust others, work together, give and accept ideas is a difficult skill to master, but if you can, you’ll be well ahead of the game.
The good news is that soft skills can be learned, practiced and perfected. Sure, natural talent helps – but don’t let anyone convince you it’s something you need to be born with.