What are soft skills, and why are they important to the pest management professional?
Unlike hard skills such as pest identification and treatment techniques, soft skill is intangible and difficult to quantify. According to Dictionary.com, Soft Skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with others.
A study by Harvard University noted that 80% of career achievements are determined by soft skills and only 20% by hard skills.
Did you know that Richard Branson was a high school dropout, Bill Gates never finished college, Thomas Jefferson dropped out after only a few months of formal education, and John D. Rockefeller dropped out of high school two months before his graduation and decided to go off and start a little company called Standard Oil?
How did these individuals become so successful? Was it luck or something else? It was not their technical skills; their soft skills contributed to most of their success.
If soft skills made these people successful, then learning and applying soft skills as a pest management professional should help you make more money, grow your business, and retain your customers.
What are some soft skills that pest management professionals need to work on?
It is essential to be able to interact effectively with your customers. Being able to communicate well is a critical soft skill. Clarity, confidence, empathy, tact, and active listening are some traits of good communicators. It is necessary to have strong oral communication skills since most communication with the customer happens this way.
Good time management skills help you plan and manage your daily schedules. You can become more efficient and productive when you manage your time well.
This is key in determining your success as a pest management professional. If you have a growth mindset, you will be self-motivated and proactive. You know the importance of updating your skills to meet new challenges and are reflective enough to work on your weaknesses.
Flexibility is essential in your everyday life for a variety of reasons. Being flexible can help you avoid being overwhelmed or stifled by change. You will also have an increased ability to direct your development rather than being a passive participant.
Integrity is a set of core values and attributes that guide you, to be honest, trustworthy, dependable, and use good judgment. Integrity means always choosing to do what is right and being accountable for your actions.
Work ethic is the ability to follow through on tasks and duties in a timely, quality manner. A strong work ethic will help you develop a positive relationship with your customers, employer, and colleagues.
How do we, as pest management professionals work on improving our soft skills?
First, you need to be willing to admit that you need to change because your results come from your habits, your habits come from your beliefs, and your beliefs come from your association. You are the culmination of the five people you associate with the most, the books you read, the media you watch, and the social media you engage with. Your association dictates your beliefs, your beliefs dictate your habits, and your habits dictate your results.
Soft skills are increasingly crucial for success. It's not enough to be a highly trained pest management professional without developing the softer, interpersonal, and relationship-building skills to help you communicate effectively.
Since soft skills are essential for success, developing these skills is very important and does matter… a lot!