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Soft Skills and How to Develop Them

By | Ronica Samuel

The secret to workplace success is having the right soft skills — a combination of personality attributes, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal skills — that enhance your personal and interpersonal relationships. These skills complement employees’ technical skills to enable them to navigate their work environment, work well with their colleagues, perform well in tasks and achieve their goals. Let’s examine how soft skills are essential in the workplace:

Why You Need Soft Skills

Technical skills are the benchmarks for success, but we need soft skills to understand our environment, colleagues, roles, and responsibility. Soft skills are fundamentally emotional intelligence capabilities and social skills that enable people to relate and work well with others, navigate their environment, and take leadership positions to achieve their goals. They’re human skills for connecting, influencing, and engaging individuals while opening their minds to their environment,  work and motivating their actions towards success.

While technical skills from a diploma, degree, or trade are essential at work, they’re never enough for sustained workplace success. Soft skills help individuals succeed in the long term and help leaders and entrepreneurs attain success.

Examples of Soft Skills

Some examples of critical soft skills that enhance a person’s overall effectiveness in work, life, and business include:

  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork and relationship building
  • Empathy and emotional intelligence
  • Leadership
  • Decisiveness
  • Responsibility
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Continuous learning and training
  • Adaptability

Soft skills are important both for personal relations and work performance, whether you are an employee, a manager or an entrepreneur. Here are some ways to develop soft skills:

Get a coach

A skills coach can help you acquire or develop certain soft skills using tailored learning and practicing processes. If you can’t get a coach, you can use mentoring software to support your needs for soft skills and improve your work performance and relations.

Online courses

There are many online courses that offer different social, communication, and interpersonal relations and hard skills like networking, web design, and graphic design. Websites such as Coursera, Udemy, Lynda.com, and edX have numerous soft skills courses that you can utilize.

Feedback

Soft skills are personal strengths, and the best way to learn about them is through people’s feedback. Listen to your colleagues and leaders and observe how they treat you. You can also ask for feedback from your immediate seniors or teammates to help you reveal the blind spots in your self-perception. This can help you conduct a self-assessment and know where to improve.

Take on a leadership role

There’s no better way to learn soft skills or improve on the ones you have other than when you’re a leader. Leadership exposes you to situations that require critical thinking, decision making, people relations, negotiations, and more. These situations require social and emotional intelligence that you must have or develop to thrive.

Endnote

Today’s workplace and business landscapes are about relationships, communication, and negotiations. Soft skills allow individuals to effectively use their knowledge to succeed at work and in their roles. These skills are also crucial during hiring, as they show hiring managers how you’re built to succeed in a role.

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