There’s always that one colleague who’s “so amazing” that she keeps showing you up at work. You half expect her to clutch a bouquet of flowers like a Miss World contestant and promise to achieve world peace. Or, at least, to share maps with the United States.

It’s like one big popularity contest that you’re just failing.


The truth about working with people

In essence, it is a popularity contest… because we’re all people. And while we continue to work with other people (chances are high since we’re the only species that pays in cash), it’s likely we’re going to reward the kinds of people that make us feel better about ourselves and the work that we do.

Think about it: If faced with a business melt-down where you can retain only one of two employees in the same role, who do you pick? The adaptable and friendly one who is always prepared to go the extra mile? Or the one who needs to be convinced to do the work, let alone on time?

That’s right - you’d pick Miss World.

Winning the contest with soft skills

Mayer & Salovey, creators of the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test, suggest that, “People high in emotional intelligence are expected to progress more quickly through the abilities designated, and to master more of them.”

Furthermore, suggests that many CEOs are ready to hire workers who demonstrate stronger soft skills and then train them for the specific jobs available.

Even in companies where soft skills alone may not get you the job, they will help you to keep it and get that promotion. The people-managing nature of higher management positions also means that the sooner you can demonstrate your soft skills, the faster you’ll progress.

Taking the plunge - upping the softies

Some people were born with oozing charm and a twinkle in their eyes. But for the rest of us (you know, those who feel like runners up in the contest), there is hope: soft skills can be learned with time and practice.

There are many articles and informal training courses available online – not to mention formal training options that you can discuss with your employer. Get started with some of these e-freebies: