Power Skills: Why Nice-to-Have Qualities Are Now Essential

What are power skills and why are they so highly coveted in today’s workplace? We’ve already covered the benefits of mastering soft skills (a.k.a. human skills). But perhaps “soft” is a misnomer. 


The word “soft” implies that these capabilities (leadership, teamwork, communication, problem solving, work ethic, adaptability, and interpersonal skills) are somehow less important and harder to measure than the so-called hard skills (those technical abilities learned in school or on the job). To the contrary, in today’s evolving workplace, where professionals are continuously faced with new demands, high emotional intelligence can help to successfully navigate challenging situations and create favorable outcomes. 


In fact, soft skills are so desirable that a 2013 in-house survey of every Google employees hired since the company’s incorporation in 1998 revealed that the top characteristics of achieving success there are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others’ values and points of view; having empathy and being supportive of colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas. 


Powerful, indeed.


Sending a Powerful Message 


Rebranded power skills by Dartmouth University President Philip J. Hanlon, these capabilities are in high demand across industries. In the past 30 years, jobs requiring high levels of social interactions grew by nearly 12 percent as a share of the U.S. labor force. 


Many assume that those interpersonal qualities that make up power skills are inherent — you’re either “good with people” or you’re not. That’s not accurate; research shows that they can be learned and mastered much like any other skill to monumental effect. An MIT Sloan study found that power skills training in problem solving, communication, and decision making yielded a 250 percent ROI in just eight months.


Tap Into Your Power (Skills)


Developing power skills is a lifelong commitment to your own personal and professional growth. How do you master these abilities? When considering traditional ways of learning such as role play, it may seem impossible to practice these skills with another person so that you both don’t feel awkward, alienated, and perhaps even worse.


Mursion’s virtual reality simulations are designed to empower professionals through learning, practicing, and mastering power skills. By providing live, interactive simulations guided by trained simulation specialists in realistic settings, we support leaders as they practice and master competencies, such as how to coach to improve employee performance, provide candid and empathetic feedback, and create inclusive interactions on their teams.


Reframing soft skills as power skills demonstrates the potent effect of practicing and mastering these proficiencies. Think of them as your superpowers. By harnessing the transformative learning potential of virtual reality simulations, you can regularly flex those muscles in a safe setting to enact meaningful, long-lasting change.

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