Soft Skills And Connection: You Can’t Have One Without The Other

When it comes to soft skills and connection, the two are more interconnected than you might realise. In fact, they have everything to do with each other.

It’s the beginning of March, and I would like to applaud everyone for making it this far – no really, it’s been one heck of a ride! Because amongst all the chaos of this pandemic, the hustle and bustle of everyday life carried on too. No pause button to hit here. 

And now, many of us are returning to our offices and daily lives, where we are met by our colleagues that have the same, disconnected look in their eyes that we have. Isolation has been a collective experience for most of us, and returning to society can feel a little awkward after being away for so long. We need to rekindle our connections, and learn how to ignite our soft skills in this new world.

Soft skills are often referred to as interpersonal skills because most of the time, they are used when working with others.​

But what many don’t realise is that they have a lot to do with the way we work with ourselves, too. Now if you ask Simon Sinek, he’ll call them “Human Skills”, because he believes they are basic skills needed to interact healthily with others. And I quite agree.

So you see, strong healthy connections cannot be present unless you have good ‘human skills’. But soft skills cannot be demonstrated or used unless you have a connection with others. You cannot have one without the other.

So, why are soft skills becoming so important?

Technology is changing the way that a lot of hard skills are done. It’s automating hard skills at an increasingly rapid pace. Soft skills, however, cannot be so easily measured and taught – and not so easily replaced either.

This rapid revolution in technology is a reality, beyond anything that you and I can change and we need to recognize this. Specialising in only hard skills will, in the long run, make you less valuable. You already have natural ‘soft skills’, it’s just a matter of developing them. Not only will this benefit your career, but every relationship you have, too.

Here’s some examples of well-known soft skills: 

  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Productivity
  • Time management
  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Work ethic
  • Empathy

Let's play a game real quick.

Look at someone you admire and know fairly well.  Ask yourself two questions:

1 ) What soft skills do you admire in them?

2) What are their connections like around them – are they strong?

Chances are that if their soft skills are strong, their connections are healthy. The good news is that these skills can be learnt and strengthened. 

Use your soft skills to form good connections. Form good connections, and your soft skills will shine.

connection and soft skills

But to have this, you need to take a big step back and start at the beginning: start with yourself. Because before you can use your ‘human skills’ with anyone else, you must apply them to yourself first. The way you interact with yourself overflows to others. To contribute to creativity within a team, you first need to nurture your own creativity. To show empathy to others, you first must understand, embrace and move through your own emotions. It starts with self.

So let’s visit the self for a bit and look at some fundamental human skills.

The Four Agreements

Don Miguel Ruiz is a renowned spiritual teacher and best-selling author of The Four Agreements. He speaks about the inspiration behind it on an episode of Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations. Ruiz says that if you can commit to these four agreements with yourself, you are guaranteed to see positive changes in your life:

Once you’ve committed to these four agreements with yourself, it will be easy, almost organic, for you to commit to them in your relationships and connections. It will naturally flow into all areas of your life because it will become who you are. How sweet the fruits of commitment can be! 

Where does connection come in?

Once again, we must return to the beginning: only once you become connected to yourself, can you connect with others. The fundamental to building strong commitments is trust. But how do you build trust? You build it when you carry out a series of actions that prove you are trustworthy; enter the four agreements. Stick to these, and you are proving that you can trust yourself and in turn, that others can trust you too.

To become more connected with yourself and others, you need a few fundamental factors in place for the connection to grow:

The secret glue that binds this all together?

Consistency. You’ll only be able to form connections and see an impact from your human skills if you are dedicated to taking actions that move you towards this.  Once you’ve committed to living a life of contribution and connection, prove to yourself you can stick to it. If you think about it, we’ve done a 360-degree turn and come right back to the first of Ruiz’s four agreements: be impeccable to your word.

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