When Your Soft Skills Get Called Into Question

I’m at the stage in my career where I want to take it to the next level and that is the stage where the ability to manage becomes important. As well as having excellent technical skills soft skills become more important in order to enable you to get the best out of your colleagues, vendors and customers.

At a recent meeting with my CTO, while getting the feedback that I was a technically sound, well rounded individual, my ability to lead was questioned. To be fair I can understand why. I’m naturally a shy, quiet girl (in denial of her age!) who doesn’t like to get things wrong and this has stopped me all my life from getting my view out there be it in school, socially or in the work place. For example if you look at my blogs up until now they’ve been very dry with minimal opinion. Hearing this from my boss really hurt. If he’d said that I was lacking technically somehow no bother I’d have gone out and swotted up until I knew it inside out but hearing there was something wrong with my character was much more devastating and seemed harder to fix.

I could have spiralled into a bit of a depression, did I mention I can be a drama queen, but instead I’m determined to overcome it. I’ve already improved greatly from my school days when I was practically mute. I can beat this but it will mean putting myself into lots of uncomfortable situations and it will take time. Strangely it feels safer blogging here than internally within my organisation where there is the odd technically gifted person that seems to find the need to aggressively disagree with anything they believe is wrong. That last statement probably says more about me and my need to be right than about them.

I need to actively try to express more of an opinion in my blogs (some will be dry, trying to learn stuff blogs but this can’t be every blog) and I need to man up and start blogging/yammering internally. I also need to stand up in front of people and express my views, GULP! No one said it was going to be easy but I know it will be all the sweeter when I manage to change people’s perception of me because of the struggle and effort I will have made.