Soft skills matter on your performance review

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Feb 22

Goals, hard numbers, proven results -- all business, all the time. That's what counts on the performance review, right? Well, yes, usually those numbers oriented, attainment driven results matter the most on a performance review. But soft skills count as well. Indeed, your soft skills may be the difference between getting that better rating -- or job -- than your competition.

Business is social

When you go home after work and then complain about your work to whoever will listen, what do you complain about? Usually it is about something someone at work did or how some person (like your manager) is giving you too much work to do or how someone at work just doesn't get it. It's that people thing.

Social skills matter. How you tolerate ambiguity in other people, how you handle conflict, how you provide constructive criticism, and how you move things forward in an uncertain team environment go a long way to getting some job satisfaction at work.

In the performance review, this could be considered "getting along with others." But that's not really it. Instead, your emotional maturity in handling these different situations point to your job skill of working in a team. Or a difficult environment. It's not about getting along, it's about getting results in a way that moves everyone forward.

Business knowledges provide context

One of the soft skills is simply the level of knowledge you have about the business your company is in. How stuff works in your company and who does what and how it gets done is important. This type of knowledge, regardless of experience, allows you to understand how your work fits into a larger picture. How your team's work does as well.

All of this context helps you communicate better with your peers and others in the company. You understand the shorthand and have fewer misses on understanding what, exactly needs doing in your work. Fewer mistakes translates into a better performance for your review.

Your team matters

When people think about teamwork in relation to performance reviews, they usually, immediately, go to "I went out of my way to help a teammate in a particular situation." That's great, but that's not really much about teamwork. Teamwork, instead, is showing how your unique abilities helped move the team to get results. It's about showing that your team can count on you to get your part of the work done so they don't have to cover for you.

Knowing how you fit into the team and the unique skills you bring to help the team get results is a soft skill. That translates into the performance review by achieving the team goals for your review.

Soft skills is a performance review differentiator

Most of us really don't analyze our soft skills. It's just who we are and how we act at work and we don't give it a lot of thought. But, we should. If we can move the needle on how we handle different situations in a way that helps everyone move forward, it helps our job satisfaction. And our performance review.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.