You could be the best engineer or marketing executive but if you don’t have the right soft skills, it amounts to very little. Which means having the right soft skills is up there with technical knowledge.
What exactly are soft skills? They are things that make you a reliable employee and someone your colleagues love dealing with. Unlike hard skills that can be measured, soft skills are difficult to quantify. You’ll know it when you see it.
Research from the Society for Human Resource Management actually found that employers care more about soft skills than they do technical abilities. So what are the soft skills that employers look for and how can you develop them? Check our list below.
Being able to communicate well sets the tone for how people perceive you. Plus, it’s what necessary to build good relationships with your colleagues and clients. This doesn’t just involve talking but also your written skills (like those emails you send out) and how well you listen. That’s right – being able to listen well is part of communicating. And the best listeners get people on their side because it is the easiest way to build trust with someone.
How to develop it: Put yourself out there for public speaking opportunities to help build confidence. Or join Toastmasters. To be a better listener, make it a point to listen more than you talk. Ask follow-up questions as well as give the other person your undivided attention.
Eyeing that promotion? It’s time to show you deserve it by displaying leadership skills. Your boss is always on the lookout to see who has the potential to lead. Showing that you have confidence and a clear vision to influence your colleagues and get them to work better with you helps you stand out, leading to more promotions and salary hikes.
How to develop it: Volunteer for projects – whether it is work related or not. This will give you the opportunity to manage people, learn how to motivate a team, take on more responsibility, work out schedules and be organised – all traits that make a great leader.
No man is an island and this is absolutely relevant in the office sphere. A company’s success is often dependent on how well the entire organisation can work towards a common goal. Plus, team players help build a friendly and approachable office culture, making work more enjoyable.
How to develop it: Lend a hand to a colleague whenever you can. Go for team lunches or after-office events. In general, try to cultivate a friendly working space for everyone to feel comfortable working alongside one another.
#4 Problem solving
Things are going to go wrong once in a while. What will make you stand out to your boss is how you approach it – are you going to whine about it... or will you step up and take the right action? Obviously, it is the latter that will get you noticed because taking responsibility and knowing to how solve issues – big or small – will make you an indispensable employee.
How to develop it: If you stumbled upon a problem, think of how you are going to solve it before you approach your boss. It doesn’t matter if your solution works or not; it shows that you have the ability to problem solve instead of just coming up to your boss with problem after problem.
#5 Time management
Good time management is what will help you get the job done on time. It is also what your boss will recognise you for as a results-oriented employee. Plus, your colleagues will thank you for meeting your end of the deadline.
How to develop it: Make it a habit to stay focus and get the job done well and on time! Learn to schedule your day, focusing on what’s a priority. Discipline is what will help you manage your time better.
You think A will happen but sometimes, it’s B and C and D instead. Things don’t always go as planned, especially in the evolving work environment. Instead of sticking to what you’re used to, you need to put yourself out of your comfort zone and learn to adapt to changes as well as find alternate ways to work around them. Flexibility is key here, and is what makes you stand out as a potential leader who can keep the company current.
How to develop it: Push yourself to try out new ideas. Sign up for training courses that may give you a new outlook on your skills and industry. Keep an open mind – you never know what you may learn.
Photo created by Rawpixel.com - Freepik.com