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12 Books to Equip You with the Soft Skills in Demand

12 Books to Equip You with the Soft Skills in Demand

Out there in the rat race known as “the corporate world”, having the right soft skills will determine whether you make it or fall off the track. Fear not! Having these skills will separate you from the competition and put you ahead of the chase. There are some great self-help books that will identify the soft skills that you already have and help you to develop new ones.

Nobody Can Survive in the Workplace Without Soft Skills

Soft skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. These are qualities such as communication, teamwork, adaptability, problem solving, critical observation, and conflict resolution. While you may already possess the foundations for these skills, there are a number of self-help books out there to help you hone your skills and acquire new ones. More often than not, you will be working with others which can at times be daunting. With a little light reading, you’ll be ahead of the game in no time!

Best Books To Start Honing Soft Skills

The Hard Truth About Soft Skills: Workplace Lessons Smart People Wished They’d Learned Sooner – by Peggy Klause

    Peggy Klause, a Fortune 500 Coach, has built her business by providing consultation to individuals with great technical skills but limited interpersonal skills. This is typically what holds back people in their careers rather than any lack in technical or practical capability. Her coaching provides the steps required to master communication, self-management, and social aspects of the workplace.

    Bridging the Soft Skills Gap: How to Teach the Missing Basics to Today’s Young Talent – by Bruce Tulgan

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      The most common issue challenging young people in the workplace is the lack of soft skills. The issue is becoming greater as time goes by and is hindering much young talent because they don’t know how to accurately express and carry themselves. This book teaches how to behave in the workplace in a proactive and professional manner.

      Soft Skills Training: A Workbook to Develop Skills for Employment – by Frederick H. Wentz

        Frederick Wentz was hired to teach recently-released offenders the skills necessary for employment. After going through the motions of resumes and mock interviews, he realized that to truly benefit his students he had to teach them the soft skills that are essential to getting a job. He wrote this book to give guidance to those who are new to the working class.

        Everyone Communicates, Few People Connect: What the Most Effective People do Differently – by John C. Maxwell

          Experience is not the most important quality in order to succeed. The most vital skill that you can possess is communication and connection with your listeners. You need to know how to get through to people and appeal to their interests in order to attain their attention and respect. Charisma can be a learned skill, and you can sharpen your communication without being an extrovert.

          How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks to Have Big Success in Relationships – by Leil Lowndes

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            This book will teach you how to make a great first impression, work a room like a politician, master small talk, feed someone’s ego, and so much more! Leil Lowndes delves deeply into the different aspects of communication and how to use them to secure your success.

            Teamwork 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know – by John C. Maxwell

              Best-selling writer John C. Maxwell explains that in order to have a successful, healthy workplace, there needs to be a solid foundation of teamwork and team players. This requires a well-thought-out game-plan, positive energy in the work place, identification of negative members and their impact on the team, production, and creativity, and the ability to judge whether or not the team can fulfill the task at hand.

              Teamwork is an Individual Skill: Getting Your Work Done While Sharing Responsibility – by Christopher M. Avery, Meri Aaron Walker, and Erin O’Toole

                This book emphasizes the importance of being able to work well with others in order to excel in the workplace. Mastering teamwork requires five essential skills: assuming personal responsibility for productive relationships, creating powerful partnerships, aligning individuals around a shared purpose, discerning when something is “just right”, and developing a collaborative mindset.

                The Advantage: The 7 Soft Skills You Need to Stay Ahead – by Emma-Sue Prince

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                  The world is changing rapidly, and in order to stay ahead you need to change with it. You need these seven essential skills to make yourself stand out from the rest: adaptability, resilience, optimism, integrity, critical thinking, proactivity, and empathy. You might think that either you have these qualities or you don’t, but these qualities can be learned!

                  FLIPP the Switch: Strengthen Executive Function Skills – by Sheri Wilkins and Carol Burmeister

                    A book written by parents and educators for parents and educators. This book focuses on young people who have trouble focusing and communicating, are disorganized and impulsive, and struggle with planning or problem solving. Although this book is written with adolescents in mind, young adults could find this book incredibly beneficial to improve these skills.

                    On Adaptability…

                    AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For – by M.J. Ryan

                      Whether you’ve found yourself displaced from a job, struggling to stay current as you age and your coworkers keep getting younger, or are faced with the reality that your company is outdated and in danger of being phased out. We all need to learn how to deal with change and use it to our advantage.

                      On Conflict Resolution…

                      Perfect Phrases for Conflict Resolution – by Lawrence Polsky and Antoine Gerschel

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                        In the workplace you’re bound to face conflict at some point no matter how nice or easy going you are. The result of the conflict depends on how it is handled and how carefully you choose your words. This book will equip you with conflict-diffusing phrases that can cool down any situation and stop it in its tracks before it gets out of control.

                        Conflict Communication: A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication – by Rory Miller

                          Learn how to control and manipulate situations to avoid and diffuse a conflict before it become a huge issue. This book covers conflict dynamics in the workplace as well as at home so that you’re always in control of a situation.

                          These books will equip you with the soft skills needed in the workplace. Learning them will be an advantage. The importance of being able to work well with others in the workplace cannot be overemphasized, so what are you waiting for? Start reading!

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                          Last Updated on May 7, 2019

                          How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

                          How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

                          Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

                          The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

                          The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

                          Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

                          People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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                            They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

                            Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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                                1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
                                2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
                                3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
                                4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
                                5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

                                How to Spot a Wolf

                                  Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

                                  Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

                                  A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

                                  A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

                                  Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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                                  Ask Questions, the More the Better

                                  There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

                                  When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

                                  Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

                                  They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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                                  Wolves Are Everywhere

                                  As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

                                  Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

                                  Reference

                                  [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
                                  [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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