The aim of this chapter is to promote awareness of the importance of soft skills in prospect research and to better equip individuals and teams to embed these skills.
Much of the work that prospect researchers do is based on facts, statistics and imparting information. We often work alone, and the impact of our work is sometimes overlooked. This chapter was created from a desire to help prospect researchers to gain the intangible or hard-to-measure skills with which they may have had less experience, training, or guidance.
The chapter is divided into the following headings:
- Soft Skills
- Tools for Understanding Ourselves and Others
- Maintaining a healthy and successful workplace
- Reward and recognition – beyond the salary
We do not intend this chapter to be a list of instructions on how you should behave, but rather as a selection of tips and ideas which have worked for some of us throughout our careers.
Some of the wellbeing matters discussed in this chapter relate to mental and physical health. Please note that this chapter is written by prospect researchers, not healthcare professionals, and highlights tools and methods that we have found helpful, based on our lived experience and that of others with whom we have worked. It should not be considered medical advice, and if you have a mental or physical health issue that you – or your trusted close associates - believe to be serious, you should seek advice from someone who is medically qualified.
This chapter also focuses on questions of self-care, and of managing stress and wellbeing in the workplace. After reading, we hope you will be equipped with tools and recommendations for supporting and promoting your own and other people’s workplace wellbeing. You will be able to improve your understanding of yourself and others and increase your self-confidence and performance in the work environment. You will feel more capable and effective in communicating work related and team culture matters with senior leaders and other key stakeholders. Senior leaders involved in decision-making in prospect research will be able to make better informed decisions about team support, management, and interaction.
It should be noted that this chapter was written during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Due to various lockdowns and other government guidelines, most prospect researchers found themselves working from home for long periods of time, sometimes for the first time. It is widely understood that this new method of working brought challenges for many workers, and that it also brought several benefits. Issues mentioned in this chapter existed before lockdowns made remote working common or even compulsory, but the last few years have brought many of them into sharper focus, either exacerbating or alleviating many of the problems we faced.
Video-conferences from your colleagues’ kitchens, attics, or camper vans, often interrupted by children or pets, has led some teams to break down barriers between work and home life and acknowledge that each worker is a rounded human being. It is hoped that much can be learnt from this unprecedented time, and that the “new normal” might therefore be better than the old one for as many people as possible.