The term “soft skills” is a loose term used to describe a whole range of skills such as the ability to communicate well and be a team player or the tendency to find solutions to everyday problems at the office. As most of these skills do not come with a degree or a certificate and are usually a part of someone’s personality, they are considered as soft skills. Hard skills, on the other hand, refers to one’s professional knowledge and abilities that can be estimated from the degrees which the person holds or the experience they have in a specific field of work. In order to get the best out of any career, it is important to also develop some of these soft skills in addition to the professional skills. On that note, here are ten soft skills that are often found to be extremely important in both life in general and work.
The most important soft skill of them all is the ability of an individual to communicate with others, especially in face-to-face meetings. In fact, negotiation skills training is now considered to be an important part of training young professionals in many fields that require employees to deal with various people both within and outside an organization on a daily basis. Therefore, if you already have the training, it’s an instant boost to your resume. However, do review your training choices here before deciding on which negotiation skills training course to join.
It is true that the power of negotiation is an important skill to have at your disposal, but as far as communications is concerned, negotiation is just one aspect of it. The ability to understand and follow instructions, adjusting one’s tone of speech to gain control of a situation and the ability to comprehend and explain even the most complex of concepts to other people are all parts of the soft skill we define collectively as communication skills.
In order for any team to work cohesively, be it on a playing field or inside an organization, the people involved need to be team players. Team players exhibit attributes such as consideration for others in the team, clear communication with other team members, perceptiveness towards the common goal and getting over personal differences in view of the greater goal. Teamwork is hard to find and that’s why, once a team starts to gel together, most big corporations value them and try to keep them together. Someone who has the gift of being a team player will be able to increase the work-efficiency of any team on joining it, while others will likely fall apart on being taken out of their comfort zone. As change is almost inevitable in any career, having the soft skills necessary to work with a new team is a huge advantage to have.
The ability to solve problems is directly related to one’s intelligence more than anything else, but if the problem solver in question is not good at communicating his/her thoughts, or if the person is not someone who works well in a team, that skill mostly remains unutilized. Through training, it is possible to nurture that intelligent problem solver into a fully-fledged leader, but this is an innate ability which should already be there to begin with. If you find yourself to be good at solving problems in everyday life or at work, then you possess this soft skill already. Try and find ways to make that ability more focused and therefore, more productive. Keeping a cool head when everyone else around you are losing their composure, is often what turns an analytical and creative mind into a problem-solving leader.
Now, this one is a bit tricky because it can be misunderstood for being bossy. Decisiveness refers to one’s ability to make decisions on the fly and solve problems with those decisions. No one can always be right though and that’s okay, but as long as you are mostly right, decisiveness will help you get ahead in your career as you will keep saving time for your employers by solving pending issues quickly and efficiently. However, recklessness and decisiveness are two things that are sometimes separated by a thin line and it is important to always stay on the right side of that line.
All successful people around the world are exceptionally good at time management and if you want to remain useful, you will need to manage time well too. We all have just twenty-four hours to work with and as the responsibilities keep mounting up, it becomes increasingly important to manage our time better than before. Meeting deadlines, setting priorities and realistic goals, finishing projects and even balancing personal life with your career are things that demand for us to have good time management skills, or develop them along the way.
The most important form of motivation is self-motivation because it isn’t uncommon to lose sight of what you are working for, especially when things are not going your way. If you have the ability to motivate your own self, then rest assured that you also have the ability to motivate others. When you are actively maintaining a positive attitude towards the job you have and you are capable of completing work without supervision from superiors, rest assured that it’s a quality which your employers will learn to appreciate about you. This appreciation will eventually open up new avenues of opportunity for you by default. In fact, whether we realize it or not, the way we behave and conduct ourselves in front of our co-workers affects them as well. So, if you have a self-motivated and optimistic attitude towards your job, it will inspire those around you to be more like you as well.
Everyone mentions leadership qualities while describing the attributes of a leader, but very few know what it actually is, including those that have it naturally. Technically, a person with leadership quality is someone who possesses a number of the other soft skills and knows how to effectively utilize the right skills at the right times to motivate and lead others around them. The good leader also knows how to handle human assets and maximize their productivity, both for the sake of the team and the assets themselves. A defining feature of leaders in any organization is their confidence in both themselves and also those around them.
While there are natural leaders in all aspects of life, including business, it is a soft skill that is also taught to young students and employees nowadays to make them more productive. The boss or the manager may or may not have leadership qualities, but anyone that does usually receives recognition for them pretty soon.
Most of us have a few soft skills already but cannot make the best out of those abilities because of various factors such as lack of self-confidence or even an absence of the realization that we have something that makes us valuable. Joining a few soft skill courses to polish up what is already there and learning the higher principles of communication could very well make a huge difference in your career, especially down the line.