Let’s face reality – the job market is super saturated. It’s not just enough to get a job anymore; you must constantly showcase the value you bring to the table. This value is beyond technical skills; your soft skills play a huge role in helping you to be seen as a valuable team member. Soft skills cover your people skills, communication skills, social and emotional intelligence, time management, empathy, critical thinking, and a lot more. Being the best at your job won’t amount to anything if you can’t work well with others. Soft skills are skills that can’t be taught in the classroom but have to be developed individually over time.
Why do soft skills matter?
- Soft skills are what sets you apart from your colleagues with similar expertise. Soft skills are harder to learn and require a conscious effort a lot of practice and commitment to be able to master.
- Interpersonal skills are a big deal in the modern workplace. Being able to listen, collaborate, communicate and present ideas are highly valued skills in today’s workplace. Having a team that possesses strong soft skills ensures a healthy, productive, and collaborative work environment which is vital in an increasingly competitive world.
- Hard skills are useless without soft skills. For you to be truly effective in your place of work, you have to be well rounded and this includes having both hard and soft skills.
To continue to be seen as a valuable member of your team, here are some soft skills you need to develop:
- Problem-solving skills: The ability to persist and ensure that a problem is solved without giving up when it looks like you aren’t making headway is a key attribute that is needed in every workplace.
- Emotional intelligence: One of the most important soft skills we can have is being able to manage our emotions. In the workplace, we are going to be faced with situations that could trigger various emotions such as anxiety, anger, and frustration. This can negatively affect our ability to react and access the situation critically. To guard against reacting negatively, it’s important to know what triggers the reactions to enable us to catch ourselves when we are found in such situations.
- Communication skills: How you communicate, both verbally and in writing, is very important, as that could set the tone for how you would be perceived at work.
- Teamwork: In order for a company to be successful, you have to be able to work well with others. Success is the result of many people working towards one goal. Being able to collaborate with co-workers will enhance the quality of your work.
- Leadership skills: Being able to influence your co-workers and get them on board with your ideas is a skill that would make you visible within your organisation; and can translate to promotions, salary increase, and more opportunities.
- Conflict resolution: It’s human nature for conflict to arise when there are multiple people with varied opinions. Being able to resolve conflicts when they arise will help you maintain your relationship with your co-workers. The ability to work through disagreements constructively is a sign of maturity and shows your leadership potential.
- Adaptability: Being able to easily find an alternative route to achieving one’s goals when things don’t go as planned is a skill that would help you succeed in the workplace.
How to develop soft skills
The first step is to developing soft skills is to recognise and acknowledge the areas in which you need to improve. You can do this through personal reflection, as well as feedback from friends, and colleagues. Once you can figure out what areas you need to work on, you can start to map out actionable steps to take to achieve them. One of the ways you can do this is by working closely with a trusted mentor who would give constructive feedback. You could also take classes or get a coach if you need to develop high priority skills quickly.
Soft skills can add immense value to you as a professional. Be deliberate about growing your soft skills and you’ll see the rewards in time to come.