Having worked for over 25 years in over 6 companies, I have realised success in the workplace goes beyond just being technically good at your job. There are just some skills that you need to have but unfortunately, they are not taught in the regular classrooms. These skills are more crucial to your overall career than you think.
While you may define “Hard’ skills as any technical qualification, experience, or expertise that you can claim with formal credentials, Soft skills refer to those skills that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.
Soft skills are a critical factor in determining people’s training potential, learning potential, and coachability. They are also predictors of job performance, career success, and leadership potential.
Most people still think soft skills are innate qualities – you know, you’re either born with them, or you’re not. Fortunately, all of the most in-demand soft skills can be trained and developed.
Here are five key soft skills that an employee must have to be successful in the workplace
- Interpersonal Skills:
Companies want people who can work well with other people while performing their job in the office. They are also called “People skills” or “social skills”. Interpersonal skills include a variety of skills which principally centre on communication, building relationships with others and understanding body language.
They are associated with emotional intelligence, being able to understand and manage your own and others’ emotions. They also tend to incorporate your innate personality traits and learned skills in handling certain social situations.
With good interpersonal skills, successful people are able to relate with customers, clients, colleagues, subordinates and bosses.
A body is made up of many parts that function together in harmony. So also, is a company made up of different departments and divisions. It is very important that people in the company see themselves as part of a team to ensure that the customer is served and delightfully so.
Teamwork is the collaborative effort of a group to achieve a common goal or to complete a task in the most effective and efficient way. Basic requirements for effective teamwork include team members who understand that they have to work together to achieve the common goal.
This is a very vital skill that is essential in all spheres of life, including your career. Good communication is understanding and being understood, identifying a tone of voice; detecting non-verbal cues; responding appropriately to a message; knowing what to say, when to say it and how to say it.
Communication in itself is made up of three parts – words (10%, tone (40%) and non-verbal signs (50%). How you say what you say is generally more significant than the words you use. In the workplace, you should also know when to use a text message, an email and speaking face-to-face with your colleague or your client.
As the old adage goes, “employees don’t leave a bad company, they leave a bad manager”. This shows that the life and growth of a company is highly dependent on the quality of its leaders at different levels.
Great leaders drive the vision and values of a company and can motivate their subordinates to the goals and objectives of the company without being forced. Some argue that leaders are born not made but behavioural theories believe that people can become leaders through the process of teaching, learning and observation.
Leadership skills can be learned by training, perception, practice and experience over time.
- Problem Solving Skills:
Henry Kaiser, an American industrialist once said that “Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.” When carrying out your daily duties as an employee, it is highly likely that one would meet a problem every day or every other day.
Unfortunately, you will find that while some employees embrace problems and have a way of solving these problems, some others avoid problems and tend to push the problems to employees. A successful employee is a skilled problem solver. He believes that every problem has a solution, even if he has to think outside the proverbial box.
There is indeed a process to solving problems and knowing this process helps to resolve issues quickly and effectively.
There are more soft skills that are not listed here but having these five listed above will make a difference in your career.
This article first appeared on Innovation Village