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7 soft skills competences for success


AS a certified leadership and success coach, one of the important skills I acquired and require is not necessarily what I learnt at university, but that extra edge.


If one is able to cope with hard work or pressure and withstand it, they stand out
If one is able to cope with hard work or pressure and withstand it, they stand out

I have seen educated people who struggle with their lives because they have not mastered the small, but important competencies.

Success is about that extra touch that goes beyond education; it’s the soft skills. This article is a follow-up to last week’s article on leadership and business.

Quality networks

To win as an individual, you need to master the power of relationships.

People are not willing to give you their money until they trust you or know your value.

Money flows in relationships and in the quality of your networks. Build stronger relationships or networks, we are never an island, we live with people.

There are different relationships that we encounter every day of our lives these include business partnerships, friendships, marriage, colleagues and/or any associates.

These relationships either stretch us or stop us. They add or take value from us. They influence us either positively or negatively.

It’s always said, show me your friend and I will show me your future. Your association determines your assimilation.

What you stick around with, will ultimately stick on you. If your contacts on your phone are not quality contacts, you have to think twice. Why?

People on your phone are people you always talk to. These are the people that should connect you to people you need to succeed.

The more one invests in relationships the greater the networks and the larger the influence.


This is the flexibility to learn. You have to be flexible in the face of change or challenges. In my past talk with Busisa Moyo, the current president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, and the chief executive officer of United Refineries Limited, he said: “Soft skills are very important.”

Subjects like learning agility and emotional intelligence are invaluable and they will set you apart.

They need to be attended to and understood along disruptive technologies.

For example, the average concentration span for an individual is now eight minutes, and a couple of years ago, it was 35 seconds.

So, an advert, for example, has to be shorter and sharper in its messaging. These are changes, mindsets that come and so a person with a sharper and heightened emotional intelligence can pick signals and details.

When I say details, it is about numbers, but also in emotions, reactions, orientations, inclinations, preferences.

These are some of the things that set a current leader apart.

Take care of little things in relationships.

John C Maxwell says: “You have to show people that you care about them by taking an interest in them. Look for value in every person. Put yourself in other people’s shoes. Find reasons to like them.”

Make yourself valuable to others. Understand what your associate’s value and relate to what they value.


Learn to speak effectively. The power of a “thank you” comes here — appreciate people. Be interested in other people. Learn to negotiate. Be a great listener. Make others feel important.

Make your best impression — with your smile, firm hand shake, and good facial expression. Don’t always give answers, ask witty questions and get people involved.

Public speaking is what leaders and entrepreneurs need to learn.

Success is about weaving a great story that appeals to people. We have to talk to people and convince then of our great business or product.

Know people’s names

Learn people’s names — if you don’t remember other people’s names, it’s like you are saying: “I’m not interested in you. I’m not interested in your value or even your business.”

Invest in relationships by learning to give, give your time and emotionally. Nothings sounds sweeter like you name.


It is the ability to work under pressure with ease and composure. This is quick-fix generation. We are looking for fast profits with less work.

Most people don’t cope with hard work or pressure. If you are able to withstand pressure, you stand out.

The SIP Model

If you are not doing your life’s purpose, you might be spending your life in misery.

For everyone to be effective they should not waste time with other things, but walk in their true passion. I have created a “purpose finding” model called the SIP Model.

S stands for strengths. We are all endowed with unique talents. These unique traits makes us stand out and different.

I stands for interests. What would you love to spend the rest of your life doing? There is that special thing that your inner being longs to do even when you are not paid.

In my book, Inspiration for Success, I wrote: “Pursue your passion until people start to pay you for it. At times, you do not need to pursue opportunities, but you must be the opportunity that some people are looking for.”

P stands for profit. What benefit do your strengths and interest have on people? We are here to make a difference and add value to humanity.

At times, people might not notice your contribution, but work on it as long as you are making a positive input in someone’s life.

You might not affect the whole world, but your effort matters to the whole world.

Parting point: Jeffrey Pfeffer in the book Leader to Leader (1999: 285) says: “In today’s world, knowledge and capability have become keys to success because everything else — product offerings, marketing, strategy, sourcing schemes — is easily acquired or imitated.

Putting people first, or at least taking people’s issues seriously, is more important than ever.

But implementing high-commitment practices requires a different view of management and competitive advantage.

From this perspective, leaders build systems — systems that build distinctive competences and capability and that, because of their internal coherence, are robust even as the competitive landscape and the macro-economic environment change.

Jonah Nyoni is an author, success coach and leadership trainer. He is the author of Inspiration for Success and Success Within Reach.

Email: jonah@classicmail.co.za. Twitter @jonahnyoni

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