Become a Soft Skills Expert

Sometime back, I emailed Professor James Heckman—Economist, Nobel Laureate, and an expert in the economics of human development. I requested permission to quote him regarding his research into soft skills. He graciously granted it, and here is his quote:

“We now have very hard evidence that you have to have soft skills in order to succeed.” –James Heckman

Let me reiterate that: Professor Heckman states, “you have to have,” not ‘it would be nice to have’ or ‘it would be okay if you sort of had’. He says the evidence shows that to succeed you have to have soft skills.

I’m not going to argue with a Nobel Laureate. That’s one of my rules. Don’t argue with people smarter than you. You can if you want. But the other reason I won’t argue is—I agree with him. Everyone here at Genius Inc. agrees with Professor Heckman’s insight.

To that point, here’s what I’ve noticed.

Over the last five months, I’ve been seeing more and more articles written about the importance of soft skills. (One of them stole Professor Heckman’s quote nearly verbatim. Shame.)

These articles all have their own list of the Top 5 or 7 or 9, etc. soft skills needed in business, indicating that there are a lot more than 5 soft skills needed for success. If the articles were taken collectively, it would probably be more like a Top 25 list.

Of course, there were a couple of soft skills such as Adaptability or Time Management that made it onto several of the lists. But the thing that I found most gratifying was that no matter what list I was reading, every “Top” list was made up of several of the genius traits from the 24 Characteristics of Geniuses.

Let’s use the article I saw this week at LinkedIn. It went over the Top Five skills companies will need to learn in 2019.

Here are the soft skills they mention:

1) Creativity

2) Persuasion

3) Collaboration

4) Adaptability

5) Time Management

All five of these have to do with one or more of the 24 genius characteristics. For instance, Persuasion is genius trait #12, and Adaptability is genius trait #20.

Creativity is a combination of traits #24 Imagination, #21 Curiosity, and #11 Enterprise. Collaboration is a combination of #7 Ability to Judge, #14 Ability to Communicate, #15 Patience, and #24 Imagination. Time Management is a combination of #1 Drive, #3 Devotion to Goals, and #10 Dynamic Energy.

This is similar to other lists that I’ve noticed. Many of the writers name several genius characteristics in their “Top” lists and/or they name a quality that can only be mastered by having a combination of a few of these genius traits.

This confirmed for me what I already knew. These genius traits, discovered by Dr. Alfred Barrios in the 1970s, are foundational qualities. That is what makes them genius and most valuable.

Dr. Barrios said, if you know and use these genius characteristics, you will operate on a genius level. And geniuses are responsible. They achieve their goals. They’re highly productive.

The 24 characteristics of geniuses are foundational soft skills, and anyone mastering them would be a soft skills expert.

This is why when executives and employees begin to go through our Genius Culture Courses, rapport and collaboration is positive and productive. The bottom line improves. Productivity increases and the company’s culture is boosted to new heights.

These things occur because the personal growth that results from developing and acquiring these soft skills, that are the 24 Characteristics of Geniuses, makes a person abler which in turn makes them happier.

Who doesn’t want to be more able and happier? The personal growth achieved helps them at work and at home.

For example, when a person develops the genius trait of Patience, it not only helps them communicate or collaborate better in the workplace, it also helps them at home when it comes to teaching their child fractions or supervising their kid’s science project without any frustration.

And so it goes with developing each of the genius characteristics. They are infinitely applicable and useful in accomplishing any job or project.

Our Genius Culture Courses help not only at work but in all areas of a person’s life. The genius traits are the most foundational soft skills and, if used, always lead to success in any endeavor they are being applied to.

So, if you want success these are the soft skills you have to have.

Your success is within reach. Go for it. We’d expect nothing less from a genius.

Go to to learn more about how you can help your team develop their own genius soft skills.

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