What soft skills are important in the consulting business?

Author Silvia CalvoSilvia Calvo
Date February 1st, 2021

Perhaps in the last few years, you have heard of soft skills. They have become increasingly important as it has been shown that those employees with a combination of soft and hard skills are more capable in their work performance, are better at teamwork and achieve their goals in less time.  But what are soft skills? Let’s talk about it.

Soft skills are the accumulation of productive personality traits that characterize a worker’s relationships with the environment, such as self-esteem, communication, eloquence, empathy, time management, leadership, etc. These soft skills complement the hard ones, also known as technical skills, for productive work performance. A Harvard University study (Heckman and Kautz, Hard Evidence on Soft Skills, 2012) found that 80% of career achievements are determined by soft skills and only 20% by hard skills, with the latter being surprisingly the most needed (so far) when it comes to getting a job. 

And in consulting, what would be those star skills for a person to be able to perform the job in the best possible way?
Bearing in mind that we will probably be in contact with many different people, good communication skills will be necessary, so that the person will be able to express him/herself clearly by speaking and writing. Of course, before any kind of interaction, we would have the courtesy since nobody wants to work next to a person who lacks good manners. We know the hostility of the work environment, as we are not isolated from society and all areas of our life influence each other. That is why both interpersonal skills (sense of humour, empathy, patience) and flexibility are important, being adaptable and always open to accepting the new. As the main task of a consultant is linked precisely to the resolution of scenarios raised by clients, decision-making and conflict resolution skills are key for the right development of the role.  Teamwork, time management and negotiation skills cannot be ignored, since it is necessary a combined collaboration either with the client or with other areas of expertise to achieve the most convenient solution in the shortest possible time. 
All of these (and many more) make up the appropriate professional profile for a consultant in terms of soft skills. And now, will you see your colleagues with different eyes?
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