The Importance of Soft Skills in the Workplace

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You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”

Your resume is what will get you an interview. There is no doubt that a comprehensive and applicable piece of paper which chronicles your work experience is incredibly important in order to get you noticed as a potential hire.

However, once the interview begins a company is looking at an individual. They know your qualifications but now they want to see how you articulate them. They know that you are educated but now they want to see how that education translates to the person sitting in front of them. They know you are skilled but they want to make sure that you will also work well with the team that already exists.

So how exactly does one go about learning soft skills? When it comes to learning hard skills there are concrete ways to go about acquiring the desired results. Want to learn how to scuba dive? Sign up for a PADI open water course. Want to learn HTML coding? There are plenty of online courses that can help anyone learn the skill. Soft skills are a different story.

Soft skills are personal attributes that enhance an individual’s interactions, job performance and career prospects. Unlike hard skills, which are about a person’s skill set and ability to perform a certain type of task or activity, soft skills are interpersonal and broadly applicable.

Soft skill training has numerous dimensions. Some of the soft skills, amongst others which are highly important are:

  • Communication Skills

Communication skills are the most important soft skills for an employee. The ability to communicate through the spoken and written word is a necessity in  every workplace. Communication skills can be learned and improved with the right training. It may take time for employees to learn effective communication skills, particularly if they have a naturally shy disposition. In this case, a course on public speaking can work wonders. The techniques learned by speaking to a large crowd can be adapted for daily communications and these lessons are typically good confidence builders for employees.

  • Interpersonal skills

The ability to work in teams, relate to people and manage conflict is a valuable asset in the workplace. This skill is important to get ahead–and as you advance in your career, the aptitude to work with others becomes even more crucial. Personal accomplishments are important on your resume, but showing that you can work well with others is important too.

  • Attitude

A famous Winston Churchill quote states, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” How true this saying is – both in and out of the workplace. Your attitude is one of the most important soft skills, and it’s a trait that you can work on improving every day, in every situation. Attitude encompasses looking at opportunities in situations, even when things don’t go as expected, and a positive attitude can help you over -come cynicism and negativity. Instead of becoming a complainer and seeing the bad aspects of a situation or an environment, maintaining a “can do” attitude will help you find solutions.

  • Adaptability

Don’t underestimate the ability to adapt to changes and manage multiple tasks. In today’s technology driven and rapidly evolving business environment, the ability to pick up on new technologies and adjust to changing business surroundings is important.

  • Teamwork

The ability to work well within a team is another important soft skill. Some employees may naturally feel comfortable working within a group, while others may have problems and prefer to work alone. It is necessary to spot these personality types ahead of time for proper group formation. Every team should have a diverse set of personalities that mesh together as a cohesive whole. Team building exercises can be very beneficial in helping employees develop this skill.

These are some of the important soft skills which a company or organization looks in a candidate for employment. Some of the other soft skills which are also important in workplace are Strong work ethic, Creativity and Problem Solving Skills, Decision making skills, Leadership skills, Self Motivation and Emotional Intelligence.

Soft skills are not learned in a classroom or within a defined period of time. Rather, they are something that an individual learns, hones, and improves throughout their lifetime, and with the help of a mentor. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked or ignored as not being as valuable as the hard skills. Seek out opportunities to improve your soft skills, this will improve your value to an employer and will improve your ability to be successful.

” To advance your life personally or professionally, you must put an emphasis on developing your soft skills.”


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