The Emerging Importance Of Soft Skills
It is becoming abundantly clear that employers are no longer looking solely for academic skills, or professional skills. Rather, they want to ensure that people they hire have developed their soft skills as well.
However, many people still struggle to understand what soft skills are exactly. Additionally, they are unsure about which soft skills they should work on the most.
There are a lot of soft skills training out there, but it is important to ensure you choose the training that will serve you the most. So what are the soft skills you should be focusing on in order to further your career the most?
1 – Active Listening
The first is active listening. Almost everybody knows that communication is a very important soft skill, but that type of training tends to focus strongly on delivering messages, overlooking the other important element: listening. Learning to listen properly is an incredibly important skill.
“Active listening is important if you want to really know what’s going on in your workplace, with a project, or just to make coworkers and employees feel heard.” 6 Overlooked Skills That Are More Important Than You Think
Listening is about being able to sense that communication is being sent your way. You then need to process this information and actually understand what is being said. Often, you have to be able to do that while at the same time considering your response and that is where the true difficulty lies. Without excellent listening skills, most of us start to formulate our response at the start of a conversation, effectively dismissing some of the things that may have been said. Being able to demonstrate that you actually listen and understand is a hugely important skill.
2 – Being a Team Player
Everybody who has gone to an interview will describe themselves as team players. We all know that this is something that an employer is looking for. However, describing what a team player actually is and demonstrating that this is applicable to you is often much more difficult.
“Acting as a team player means not only being cooperative, but also displaying strong leadership skills when necessary.” Top 7 Most Important Soft Skills
Being a team player does not mean you accommodate everybody all the time. It does not mean that you take on everyone else’s work whenever they are struggling. It means that you are able to manage your own workload, delegate when necessary and help in the best way you can when there are difficulties. Being a team player is a balancing act of ensuring your own work is done properly, and assisting others when you are able to. As such, it is also about learning to prioritize and to know when you are yourself unable to complete a task without assistance.
3 – Adaptability
Change management is a big buzzword in the world of business. All managers and leaders know that they always have to go through periods of incredible change and that this requires specific approaches in order to deal with them. This is because human beings are creatures of habit and are naturally resistant to change. Being able to show that you can adapt to change is a very important skill.
“Don’t underestimate the ability to adapt to changes and manage multiple tasks. In today’s technology driven and rapidly evolving business environment, the ability to pick up on new technologies and adjust to changing business surroundings is important.” Top 10 Soft Skills in Demand
If you are a manager, being adaptable demonstrates that you will have the tools and skills to manage change. If you are applying for an individual contributor job, you will need to show that you will not be resistant to change and that you will be able to follow the direction in which the organization is moving. Change is hard to deal with, and it is acceptable to be honest about the fact that it doesn’t feel nice. However, it is advisable to provide examples of how you overcame those feelings and moved forward.
4 – Conflict Resolution
Every workplace goes through periods of conflict. It is almost impossible to not find yourself tied up in one conflict or another at some point during your career, be that because of your own actions, or because you mediate in them. Conflict in the workplace is caused by a wide variety of factors, some of which can be avoided in hindsight, others that possibly couldn’t be avoided. For instance, when there are significant personality clashes, it is almost impossible for a conflict not to develop. Being able to demonstrate that you have excellent conflict resolution skills will put you in high demand.
“You need to be able to negotiate win-win solutions to serve the best interests of the company and the individuals involved.” Six Soft Skills Everyone Needs
Conflict resolution is about being able to influence and persuade those within the organization to move forward in a mutually beneficial manner. If you have these skills, you are far more likely to climb the ladder of success as well. This is also due to the fact that you will place yourself in a position of trust, with other people looking towards you for guidance.
5 – A Positive Attitude
Finally, employers are looking for people who have a strong positive attitude.
“You don’t have to be the office cheerleader, but staying focused on solutions and looking at the glass as more than half full can make work more enjoyable and less stressful.” 10 Skills Everyone Needs To Thrive In Today’s Job Market
Being positive in your approach to work, and truly believing that there is a solution to any problem is a great way to motivate others. This is an essential skill to have as a manager, as people look towards you for guidance. Optimism and positivity is something that can be difficult to show at interview, although smiling a lot does work, so long as it is genuine.
You may have noticed that with each skill, the key is that you must be able to demonstrate it. Soft skills aren’t something you can prove simply by ticking a box. During the interview, you need to think of creative ways to respond to behavioral questions that immediately show that you have such soft skills.