Hybrid Competence: Boosted ‘Soft Skills’ Hard at Work

Hybrid Competence: Boosted ‘Soft Skills’ Hard at Work

We are all navigating the nuances of post-pandemic workplaces. Changes in where and how we work require Hybrid Competence and more than just turning webcams on and off.

Hybrid competence involves a thoughtful balance of in-person and virtual soft skills to hold our current jobs or step into new ones. Soft skills remain hard to hone—often even harder without the natural benefits of face-to-face communication.

As we continue building personal brands within both contexts, we must make positive impressions, present ideas clearly and concisely, and often influence others without having any authority over them. Owning our own spaces—and helping others to feel comfortable in them— are skills that require intentional energy.

Hybrid competence gets boosted in key ways:
1. Using professional introductions and ‘webcam wisdom’ to make quick connections.
2. Reading the room and using effective assertiveness to get main points across.
3. Building trust through active listening, attention to detail, and proactive follow up.

Competence & Confidence in Action
Webcams can improve interactions when in-person meetings are not possible or planned. And webcam weariness is real. While appearances matter, hybrid competence does not require us to show up looking like newscasters for all virtual meetings. But even if we choose to do so, this is not enough.

In person or virtually, what matters most is showing initiative: being prepared and accountable, asking questions, making meaningful contributions, connecting complex ideas, and doing that little extra to help. These actions make our professional depth visible and valuable to others. Owning our parts in communication mishaps, giving/accepting constructive feedback, and apologizing when warranted are even deeper signs of self-awareness. All humbling, hard work!

Just like using webcams wisely, we can also actively adjust our energy levels to build trust and rapport. Extroverts and introverts receive, spend, and recoup energy differently. Along this energetic continuum, we can work towards a middle ground to become ambiverts—flexibly turning ourselves up or down to fit situational needs.

Continued investment in soft skills enhances technical skills and pays off in many ways throughout our careers. Interested in training or coaching on Hybrid Competence?

Contact Jill Mazza: jmazza@wdcommunications.com