What Are The New Soft Skills And Why Do They Matter?

by Hannah Dania

In a rapidly changing world, it's more important than ever to have a strong set of soft skills.

There’s no question that hard skills are important. After all, hard skills are the technical skills required to do a job. But in today’s job market, employers are increasingly looking for candidates with strong soft skills - the personal attributes and interpersonal skills that enable you to interact effectively with others.

While hard skills are important for getting your foot in the door, it’s soft skills that will help you succeed in the workplace. That’s because soft skills are the skills that are most difficult to automate. They’re the skills that make you a valuable member of a team.

And because times are changing, so are the soft skills employers look out for! Sure, we have the gold standards like leadership and communication but now, we have new soft skills you need to master if you want to get ahead in today’s work environment.

What are they? Here are a few examples.

1. Emotional Intelligence
This is the ability to be aware and understand your own emotions and of others which allows us to interact with others effectively. It’s understandable that there are good and bad days for all of us, but it’s how we react that matters. Those who are more capable of managing emotions are prone to be and do better. Adapting to a hybrid work model post-pandemic might be a bit hard - one might feel burnout and stressed. This is when you test your skills and be more intelligent on how to manage your emotions as well as be sensitive towards others.

2. Hybrid Teamwork
Hybrid teamwork is a mix of online and offline collaboration. It allows team members to work together even if they are not in the same physical location. To be great at it, you need to master flexibility and creativity in your working style. It is also crucial to help navigate this new working model for the best results with different people you work with. Hybrid teams that work well together also help create a more diverse and inclusive workplace that is highly sought after these days.

3. Conflict Resolution
This skill is about being able to handle disagreements in a constructive way. In order to instill this soft skill, one should identify and define the problem, generate possible solutions, evaluate and choose the best solution, implement it and follow up. Trouble doesn’t have to be avoided when it can be resolved, especially when the solution can be easily mapped out. Problem these days is because of the hybrid work situation, not being able to communicate face to face can lead to misunderstanding. Therefore, knowing how to resolve conflicts in whatever situation you are in - both virtual and in the office physically - will help you get ahead diplomatically. A tip? Be aware of your surroundings. Trying to resolve issues while meeting virtually will require different tactics than if you were face to face. Understanding what works best for each situation will help you in the long run.

4. Modern Communication
Good communication has always been a sought-after skill but in the current era, it is more than just in-person communication. One should be able to effectively communicate via email, messaging, conferencing and social media platforms as most engagements are done through these. Tact and professionalism will go a long way in these kinds of communications as well as being respectful and polite. Communication is also more than just talking; it involves listening. Aim to be an active listener - someone who listens attentively and understands what others are saying. Pay attention, ask questions, and provide honest feedback. This will help build trust, resolve conflict, and improve communication.

5. Adaptability and Agility
In a rapidly changing world, adaptability and agility are essential qualities for both individuals and organizations. The ability to adapt to new situations and to rapidly change course when necessary is a key to success. We currently live in a fast-paced world, so this soft skill is a BIG plus! Employees who are able to adapt and be agile are those who will survive and thrive in changing environments. They will be counted on to think on their feet and come up with creative solutions to problems.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

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