The following are 126 soft skill topics divided into 14 categories. These are the topics covered in my SoftSkills.app training program.
Communication – How well you communicate
- Respect – Understanding that respect is the foundation of effective communication.
- Honesty – Understanding the role honesty plays in building trust.
- Trust – Understanding that trust enables fluid communication.
- Assertiveness – Understanding the difference between assertive and aggressive communication.
- Debate – Understanding the difference between a discussion and a fight.
- Consensus – Understanding how to achieve consensus on a course of action within a group of people.
- Persuasion – Understanding how to make a persuasive argument.
- Aggressiveness – Understanding how to respond to aggressive communication.
- Manipulation – Understanding when and how to adjust your communication to serve the greater good.
Teamwork – How well you work within a team
- Individuality – Understanding the degree to which individual desires must be sacrificed for the good of the team.
- Mission – Understanding the criticality of a team having a well-defined objective.
- Alignment – Understanding the importance of aligning each team member towards a common mission.
- Strengths – Understanding that all team members should have strengths the team can leverage.
- Weaknesses – Understanding that everyone can not be good at everything.
- Balance – Understanding how to balance strengths and weaknesses when assembling a team.
- Leadership – Understanding the role and function of a leader on a team.
- Ownership – Understanding how to take ownership of a mission.
- Obstacles – Understanding how to overcome the barriers the team will face as they attempt to accomplish their mission.
Curiosity – How much interest you have in learning new things
- Thinking – Understanding the importance of allocating time to think about the problems you have to solve before you try to solve them.
- Intelligence – Understanding how intelligence affects the desire to learn new things.
- Openness – Understanding the importance of being open to new ideas regardless of the source.
- Research – Understanding the importance of gathering knowledge about a problem before attempting to solve that problem.
- Experimentation – Understanding how to run experiments to gain additional insight into how a product should be developed.
- Prototyping – Understanding the power of prototypes in validating ideas before investing the time into building them.
- Imagination – Understanding the role of thinking creatively in problem-solving.
- Innovation – Understanding the circumstances under which people can innovate.
- Invention – Understanding how a series of innovations contribute to a new discovery.
Initiative – How much you desire to start new things
- Ideas – Understanding the relative value of an idea that has yet to be made into a product.
- Opportunity – Understanding how to look for and assess market opportunities.
- Determination – Understanding how to maintain forward progress despite setbacks.
- Planning – Understanding the importance of planning and the value of having a flexible plan.
- Selling – Understanding how to sell ideas to stakeholders.
- Compromise – Understanding the difference between good and bad compromises.
- Inspiring – Understanding the role of giving your team a goal worth achieving.
- Motivating – Understanding how to create motivation for your team to accomplish a goal.
- Enthusiasm – Understanding how a team’s attitude impacts their probability of success.
Skill Level – How much emphasis you place on being skillful
- Education – Understanding the role of formal and informal education.
- Knowledge – Understanding the utility of memorizing information versus learning it on demand.
- Experience – Understanding the role experience plays in the quality and speed of execution.
- Dedication – Understanding the effects of remaining dedicated to a craft for the duration of your career.
- Perseverance – Understanding how to overcome the desire to give up when trying to learn something difficult.
- Incrementalism – Understanding how to see value in making small steps towards your goal.
- Expertise – Understanding what makes someone an expert in their field.
- Mastery – Understanding how an expert becomes a master.
- Mentoring – Understanding the role of teaching plays in furthering mastery.
Attention to Detail – How well you understand and implement requirements
- Patience – Understanding the importance of being patient while gathering requirements.
- Listening – Understanding the importance of carefully listening to what is being asked for.
- Questioning – Understanding how and when to ask the right questions to fill gaps in knowledge.
- Scenarios – Understanding how to analyze requirements by representing them in real-world use cases.
- Diagrams – Understanding the power of presenting complex information visually.
- Checklists – Understanding how to use lists of items to complete to improve effectiveness and efficiency.
- Internalization – Understanding how to process requirements until their recall is instinctive.
- Interpolation – Understanding how to use an intrinsic knowledge of what is being asked for to fill in missing requirements.
- Perfection – Understanding the role of seeking perfection in achieving quality and meeting deadlines.
Business Focus – How much you care about the goals of the business
- Capitalism – Understanding the foundational concepts upon which companies are built.
- Profit – Understanding the importance of businesses operating at a profit.
- Growth – Understanding the potential tradeoffs between profit and growth.
- Sales – Understanding how revenue is generated by selling a product.
- Advertising – Understanding how revenue is generated by selling ads.
- Licensing – Understanding how revenue is generated by selling licenses and subscriptions.
- Payroll – Understanding the outsized contribution of payroll to companies operating budgets.
- Funding – Understanding how money is raised for internal projects and external startups.
- Runway – Understanding how the funds remaining affects the time until a business must become profitable.
Deadline Focus – How much you are concerned with deadlines
- Estimates – Understanding how estimates are used by business stakeholders.
- Commitments – Understanding the difference between an estimate of when work will be completed and a guarantee that a date will be met.
- Contingency – Understanding how to add the appropriate amount of time to deal with unforeseen circumstances.
- Stakeholders – Understanding the goals of your stakeholders in requesting and reviewing an estimate.
- Expectations – Understanding how to set realistic expectations for delivery timelines.
- Reporting – Understanding the importance of establishing a system for reporting progress.
- Negotiations – Understanding how to achieve a mutually acceptable timeline between the delivery team and stakeholders.
- Contracts – Understanding the effect a legal agreement has on deadline flexibility.
- Consequences – Understanding the immediate and long-term effects of missing deadlines.
Estimate Accuracy – How accurate your estimates are
- Precedent – Understanding the role of similar past work in predicting delivery time.
- Investigation – Understanding the need to dive deep into the requirements to come up with a realistic estimate.
- Decomposition – Understanding how to break a large chunk of work into smaller pieces that are easier to estimate.
- Scope – Understanding how to gain a full understanding of all of the work that needs to be delivered.
- Dependencies – Understanding the role of work upon which other work depends.
- Competencies – Understanding how the skill of the people doing the work impacts estimates.
- Interruptions – Understanding how to take into account the inevitable distractions project’s face when working towards a deadline.
- Turnover – Understanding how to factor in the likelihood that someone might leave the project before it is delivered.
- Overtime – Understanding the short-term and long-term effects of working overtime on productivity.
Productivity – How much work you produce per unit time
- Distraction – Understanding the necessity of staying focused in order to achieve your goals.
- Motivation – Understanding the role of personal motivation in getting work done.
- Discipline – Understanding that sometimes you have to get something done regardless of if you want to do it.
- Effectiveness – Understanding that the most important things have to be done first.
- Efficiency – Understanding how to complete the most amount of work in the least amount of the time.
- Completion – Understanding the importance of being 100% complete before you declare you are finished.
- Flow – Understanding the highly productive mental state called “Flow” or “Being in the Zone.”
- Previsualization – Understanding the technique of mental preparation before you start working.
- Sleep – Understanding the crucial role of sleep in cognitive productivity.
Criticality – How important you are to an organization
- Fungibility – Understanding that replaceable employees are a foundational concept of capitalism.
- Uniqueness – Understanding that it is improbable that you are so unique that you are irreplaceable.
- Importance – Understanding that you can be more or less critical to a company in comparison to your peers.
- Specialization – Understanding that to master a particular domain, you must become a specialist.
- Exceptionalism – Understanding that you can pursue and achieve being exceptional in comparison to your peers.
- Recognition – Understanding how to gain recognition for your work.
- Reputation – Understanding the importance of maintaining a good reputation.
- Politics – Understanding the reality of corporate politics.
- Promotion – Understanding the mechanics of getting promoted.
Marketability – How easily you can find a new job
- Jobs – Understanding that a job is only a temporary step in your career.
- Careers – Understanding that your career must be managed carefully through a careful section of jobs, responsibilities, and achievements.
- Ambition – Understanding the role of having goals that you are working towards in the advancement of your career.
- Demand – Understanding that the need for employees with specific skills changes over time.
- Economy – Understanding the role of the economy in driving worker demands.
- Trends – Understanding how to stay abreast of trends while avoiding fads.
- Recruiters – Understanding the business model of recruiting agencies.
- Networking – Understanding the importance of gaining and maintaining long term business contacts.
- Offers – Understanding the process of getting and negotiating an offer for employment.
Adaptability – How well you can adapt to new situations
- Comfort – Understanding the danger of staying in a position where you are comfortable for long periods.
- Confidence – Understanding the role of your self-confidence in being able to adapt to new situations.
- Courage – Understanding the role of conquering your fears in taking on new challenges.
- Absorption – Understanding the importance of embracing new circumstances rather than resisting change.
- Adjustments – Understanding how to make adjustments to your approach to adapt to new circumstances.
- Resiliency – Understanding how to recover from disappointment.
- Detachment – Understanding the importance of maintaining an appropriate distance between corporate job responsibilities and your personal passions.
- Formlessness – Understanding how to let go of your personal sense of the way things should be done to fully adapt to any situation.
- Survival – Understanding how to adapt and survive adverse circumstances.
Risk Tolerance – How much you fear failure
- Fear – Understanding that having some degree of anxiety is unavoidable when attempting new things.
- Costs – Understanding that there are always costs associated with trying new things.
- Rewards – Understanding that there should be a benefit related to any new thing that you attempt.
- Success – Understanding the importance of creating a definition of success.
- Failure – Understanding that failure is a natural part of trying to do what has never done before.
- Recovery – Understanding the importance of learning from failure and trying again.
- Gambling – Understanding the difference between taking calculated risks and playing a game.
- Odds – Understanding your odds for success as a factor for deciding if something should be attempted.
- Recklessness – Understanding when the boundary has been crossed from taking a risk to being dangerously reckless.