The Importance of Soft Skills in the Workplace
Updated: Oct 22, 2019
A recent study has shown that many jobseekers are lacking in a variety of “soft skills” that employers find desirable when selecting potential employees.
What are soft skills? They are desirable qualities that an individual possesses, and include: character traits, social skills, communication skills, social & emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills.
Over the next several weeks, we are going to be taking a look at some of these skills and how you can put them to work in the workplace.
The first soft skill is - adaptability.
As we all know, technology, society and life situations in general are constantly changing. Because of this, today’s workers must be fully prepared to adapt to any changes that come their way.
Here are a few workplace situations in which adaptability will definitely come in handy:
A change in coworkers on your shift
The introduction of a new work policy
Getting moved to a new shift
Learning new technology
The next skill that we will be focusing on is collaboration.
At one time or another, we have all had to collaborate with another person - whether it be working with a group in school or getting together with your friends to make a decision on which movie to go see.
When we are collaborating with an individual or a group, we are working together to achieve a common goal. In workplace situations, you may frequently need to collaborate with one or more people to complete your daily task(s).
Collaborating offers a number of benefits not just for the employer, but for the individual.
creating an environment where everyone feels valued and part of a successful team
empowering each person to take ownership of their position and fostering a sense of community within the company.
The next soft-skill that we will be discussing is self-awareness
Some of the most sought-after employees are those who are self-aware. It’s important that, as employees, we are honest with ourselves and our employers about our strengths and weaknesses in the workplace.
We should always strive to improve and adapt as situations, duties and our work environment changes, and knowing exactly what our strengths and weaknesses are will help us do exactly that.
What is one strength that you would bring to the workplace?
Another important soft-skill to have in the workplace is resilience.
Each and every one of us has failed at something, and will likely fail again, that’s one of the many things that makes us human.
We can’t let those failures and setbacks define who we are as people and get us down. This is where resilience comes in.
Resilience is defined as a person’s ability to overcome difficulties.
Individuals (and employees) who are resilient don’t let failures or setbacks stop them. Instead, they learn from them and use them as a tool to improve and stay focused on the task at hand.
The next soft-skill that we will be learning about is communication.
Effective communication is an important skill for every individual, not just in the workplace, but also in life.
From email to video conferencing, to social media posts, there are plenty of opportunities to connect and communicate using technology. While knowing the ins and outs of digital technology is important, you will also need to rely on your face-to-face communication skills when working with customers, your bosses and your fellow co-workers.
Here are some things to keep in mind when communicating with others:
Use an appropriate tone of voice - Oftentimes, when communicating using technology, it’s hard to decipher a person’s intended tone.
Make eye contact - During in-person interactions, be sure to look the other person in the eye when you are speaking with them. This shows that you respect the person you are talking to and also displays that you are confident in yourself and what you are saying.
Choose your words wisely - Always keep in mind who you are speaking to as well as your environment. You will likely speak differently when you are with your friends and family than when you are addressing a customer or co-worker. Always be sure to use language that is socially appropriate.
The final soft skill that we will be discussing is entrepreneurial mindset
People possessing entrepreneurial mindsets are typically drawn to new opportunities, have the ability to ‘think outside of the box’ and are determined to accomplish their goals, no matter what obstacles are put in front of them.
One of the skills that is at the heart of entrepreneurship is networking. Individuals who network are committed to meeting new people, learning about them and what they do and creating opportunities to collaborate. In the workplace, relationship building is incredibly important and employees who have a strong network around them have a definite advantage over those who do not.
Now that you know about soft skills, we encourage you to take a look at the skills that you possess and put them to good use in the workplace.