Bestselling author, motivational speaker and Chief Operating Officer for Ascira, a global personal development company in Dubai, Belynda Lee spent some three decades working in corporate America where she overcame cultural differences and business culture misalignment to climb to the top of the corporate ladder. "These challenges may sound general but put it into a project – it could determine the success or failure of the project," she says.

A leader who loves to learn, share and encourage people to realise their full potential and personal development, Belynda makes it clear that working with different types of people has made her a better person and "working with corporate America pushes me to upgrade my business, interpersonal, team building, sales and marketing and most of all international business development skills".

The bestseller that she penned tells her story of adversity and how she overcame it and offers plenty of tips she picked up along the way. "The purpose of writing the book was to show young women that anyone can overcome adversities in life."

Excerpts from an interview with Belynda Lee:

What is the relevance of soft skills and social intelligence, especially in the corporate world of tomorrow?

Soft skills are not something you learn at school. You learn them from the streets. It’s composed of people skills, social skills, attitudes, social intelligence, emotional intelligence, etc. The more you interact with people the more you will get better at your soft skills. Soft skills are vital if you want to move up the ladder in the corporate world. Highly skilled individuals and top performers like individuals who have the right people skills and social intelligence; Those who are tactless and struggle to communicate clearly are frequently likely to be left behind.

Social intelligence and emotional intelligence will play a huge role in our world of tomorrow. Individuals with high emotional quotient (EQ) have the capacity to recognise emotions and feelings while those with a high social quotient (SQ) have the ability to know themselves and other. The only way to boost SQ is to learn from experiences developed by other people and learning from success and failures in social settings, especially in diverse and high complex workplaces.

If you have both SQ and EQ, you will be able to better deal with the current business and organisational complexities and that will be what will set you apart from others. With the world moving toward high levels of complexities, EQ and SQ is a must haves for all leaders and decisions makers.

What are the critical soft skills crucial for success?

Social skills, adaptability, creative skills, emotional intelligence, problem-solving skills... Once you master these soft skills, very often they are very transferable to another job. Companies love their employees who demonstrate a certain level of soft skills because it impacts the performance at the workplace.

How does one acquire soft skills?

The more you interact with people – those you like, respect, look up to and care for as well as those you don’t – the more soft skills you will acquire. Practice your communication and listening skills when you are interacting with people, understand what emotions you go through when you interact with them. Evaluate why you are experiencing those emotions, and very slowly you will understand which soft skills you have and which ones you need to work on. Travel more to see the world. The more cultures you expose yourself to, the more you will understand that the world is made up of different kinds of people and the development of soft skills is crucial to make a mark in the world.

Do soft skills guarantee Mr. Nice Guy the way to the top of the corporate food chain?

Being nice is not enough to move up; you need the proper technical and personal skills, proper experience and knowledge to be sharp at decision-making and problem-solving. Successful people, whether at home or at work, are excellent problem solvers and communicators. Being nice will only take you so far. The real test is when you put them on a stress test. In such situations most fail.

People with good soft skills are tough yet polite, certain yet understanding and mentally strong yet empathetic. If you understand the power of soft skills and how to use it, you will be successful wherever you go.

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