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  • Writer's pictureBrannon D.

The Importance of Soft Skills for Success

Updated: Apr 4

How to develop our interpersonal talents to relate and work with others.

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are non-technical skills relating to how you work and function within an organization. They include how you interact with colleagues, solve problems, and manage your work.

Soft skills include proficiency with interpersonal (people) considerations, communication, listening, time management, and empathy. They are among the top skills employers seek in hiring candidates because soft skills are essential for every job.

Hiring managers typically look for job candidates with soft skills because they generally enable more long-term success in the workplace. Someone can be outstanding with technical, job-specific skills, but if they can't manage their time or work within a team, they may not be prosperous in the workplace.

Examples of Soft Skills

Soft skills include:

  • Adaptability - the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions.

  • Communication - the imparting or exchanging of information or news.

  • Compromise - an agreement of a dispute reached by each side making concessions.

  • Creative thinking - intentionally gaining new insights and different ideas through existing information.

  • Critical thinking - the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue to form a judgment.

  • Conflict resolution - finding a peaceful solution to a dispute.

  • Dependability - the quality of being trustworthy and reliable.

  • Leadership - the ability to influence and guide others toward a shared goal.

  • Listening - giving one's full attention to hearing their perspective.

  • Motivation - the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors.

  • Positivity - the practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude.

  • Problem-solving - defining a problem; determining the cause; identifying, prioritizing, and selecting alternatives for a solution; and implementing a solution.

  • Time management - the ability to use one's time effectively or productively, especially at work.

  • Teamwork - strong communication skills, active listening, and building credibility with colleagues.

  • Negotiation - discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.

  • Work ethic - a belief in work's moral benefit and importance and its inherent ability to strengthen character.

How to Enhance Soft Skills

There are many benefits to improving your soft skills, including relationship-building with coworkers and career development. Here are seven steps to improve your soft skills:

Be receptive to feedback.

A large part of improving your soft skills is being open to feedback you may receive from supervisors, managers, and coworkers. When you're open to feedback, you can accept constructive criticism and use that information to improve your workplace role, including your soft skills. Frequently, soft skills you may be deficient in can be revealed through feedback and encouragement from others.

Communicate frequently.

Effectual communication is a soft skill that benefits everyone in the workplace. Although you may have tasks and responsibilities that don't require the help of anyone else in your office, take the chances you have to develop relationships with those around you. Make an effort to communicate sincerely and effectively at every opportunity you get.

Emphasize teamwork.

When you commit to good teamwork, you demonstrate to your employer that you are great at cooperating with others. Collaboration can happen in a group setting for a shared project or with another coworker to complete a shared task.

Build positive relationships.

Many of the soft skills you use in the workplace rely on your relationship with other employees and managers. You can build positive relationships with coworkers by engaging in genuine conversations about their life outside work, family, recreation, and interests. Also, look for shared experiences you can join with coworkers to bond outside work.

Get outside of your comfort zone.

As with anything you want to improve, stepping outside your comfort zone and taking on something new is essential. This may be a unique setting, new responsibilities, or a leadership role. You can even offer to be the one in your group who gives the project presentation as a way for you to improve your public speaking skills.

Adapt to workplace changes.

Work through conflict.

It's not uncommon for there to be conflict in the workplace, but how you work through it is what matters. When a dispute arises, think of alternate ways to resolve it so you can continue your relationship with coworkers, learn from each other, and be productive as teammates. All members of the organization benefit from a collaborative work environment, and you can display your abilities as a team player and your capabilities as a leader.

Seek a leadership role.

Consider taking on a substantial leadership role in the workplace to enhance your soft leadership skills. Start by talking with your manager or supervisor about your interests, and see if there are any possibilities to lead a project or group or even be a mentor to someone else in the workplace with less experience.

It's also possible to be a leader in building a new process, so if you have ideas on improving your office, think about sharing them with your manager and ask for the duty of working out the logistics and leading training.

Soft Skills Conclusion

Soft skills are not only universal across industries of occupations, but they apply to all human interactions. These fundamental interpersonal talents help us effectively relate and communicate with our coworkers, family members, neighbors, and beyond. Developing our soft skills is closely linked to growing as mature, empathic, and devoted professionals.

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How to Stand Out as a Job Candidate in 2022

Photo credit: Getty/YakobchukOlena

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