There’s lots of professional development advice out there, and one of the best ones is to develop your soft skills. Regardless of your industry, soft skills are necessary to ensure your marketability and increase your professional competitive advantage.
Soft skills are versatile and can be used in any setting and in a variety of positions, regardless of the type of work. This is what makes them so valuable to employers, vendors, clients, and customers.
As a partner with Uber, you’ll likely find yourself utilizing these soft skills frequently:
As a driver, you’re essentially running your own business so a basic understanding of business skills, organization, and time management is in order. You’ll be responsible for making decisions about the most efficient routes, organizing your schedule, and responding to issues that come up during a ride.
Flexibility is a necessary soft skill in any industry and you need to be comfortable with unpredictability. As a driver, you don’t know when you’ll receive a call, so flexibility and the ability to roll with changing demands is key.
Professionalism also includes self-motivation. You won’t have a boss looking over your shoulder or holding you to a specific quota. How much you work—and how much you make—is entirely up to you. Similarly, you’ll be solely responsible for maintaining a strong work ethic and upholding professional standards.
Unsurprisingly, the ability to effectively interact with others and quickly establish trust is extremely important. Making your rider feel comfortable and safe is a priority, so be personable, polite, respectful, and friendly, and remember that a smile goes a long way. The soft skills you’ll need here include interpersonal skills and being able to quickly assess your rider.
The ability to remain calm under pressure is critical. You never know whom you’re going to get as a rider, or what situation you’ll find yourself in as a driver. Though you can’t control other people’s behavior, you can control your response. This includes how you respond to your rider, other drivers, or unfavorable traffic or weather conditions. Tap into your skills of patience and emotional regulation.
When you interact with others for work—and we all do—the ability to communicate effectively and honestly is important. As a partner with Uber, this might include giving people directions or answering questions about the neighborhood. If the rider is willing, engage them in a conversation. But take your cues from them, and if they’d rather keep to themselves, respect that.
The reality of working in a rider-focused industry and providing a service for others is that you’ll encounter angry customers. A thick skin is in order and so is the ability to separate yourself from the rider’s emotions. Employ soft skills like listening and empathizing as you allow the rider to vent and share their frustrations. This situation will also call for humility, and you may need to apologize gracefully—even when you think you did nothing wrong.
Research and Planning
Any good businessperson knows that research and planning are important to success. Get to know the major roads and shortcuts in your area, and keep up-to-date on places that are popular, like trendy bars and restaurants, sporting events, museums, and other local attractions. Not only will this research help you get your rider to their location efficiently, but you’ll also be in a better position to answer their questions.
Knowing which skills to use and when to use them will allow you to be more responsive to the needs of your riders. Developing and focusing on these soft skills will provide the opportunity for you to earn higher ratings and enjoy driving success.
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