In many professions soft skills become more and more important. As i often experience people struggling with the development of their soft skills i was thinking about some important principles for their efficient development. So let me write what i have come to.
1. Self awareness and self knowledge. Being aware of your personality type, strengths, weaknesses, habits and behavioral patterns. This allows you to create effective self-development plan, focusing on areas where the improvement will make the biggest impact. 2. Practice, practice. Soft skills cannot be improved by just reading books or attending trainings. Big part of them is automated or subconscious and many repetitions of targeted exercises may be required for changing the current patterns. Persistence is a must. 3. Evaluation and feedback Evaluating progress either by self observation or by asking others for feedback (mentors, colleagues, friends,...). Adjust the approach accordingly. 4. Clarity in goals and benefits, based on measurable or comparable criteria How will i know/recognize that the skill i'm developing is at the desired level? How the other people will recognize? What benefits will it bring me? 5. Continuous and never-ending In the soft skills area there is no perfection and there is always space for improvement.
Developing soft skills takes time and effort. Following the effective principles (e.g. those above) can make the improvement process more sustainable and efficient. Let me wish you the best of luck in that.