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Candidates with strong soft skills are in high demand for many different types of jobs. What are soft skills, and why are they so important?

Soft skills are the interpersonal attributes you need to succeed in the workplace. They are how you work with and relate to others—in other words they are your people skills.

Without soft skills, you may have a hard time fitting into any workplace and company culture. Your soft skills includes your personality, your ability to relate to those around you, your attitude, motivation, and manners. While your “hard skills” are your technical skills, such as the knowledge that a welder has to know how to weld. You need both hard and soft skills to be the perfect match for each position.

Employers and managers highly value soft skills because it directly relates to your ability as an employee to get along with others. Employers want employees who are able to interact effectively with others. These skills are also very hard to teach, so employers want to know that job candidates already have the soft skills to be successful.

How do you know if you have well developed soft skills? Well, take a look at these categories and reflect on the areas where you succeed or could need some improvement!

1. Communication – How well do you communicate?

  • Listening
  • Negotiating
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Persuasion
  • Presentation
  • Public Speaking
  • Reading body language
  • Writing skills
  • Attitude

2. Critical Thinking – How well can you analyze?

  • Adaptability
  • Artistic aptitude
  • Creativity
  • Critical observation
  • Desire to learn
  • Innovation
  • Research
  • Resourcefulness
  • Thinking outside the box
  • Tolerance of change and uncertainty
  • Troubleshooting

3. Leadership – How well can you make decision?

  • Deal making
  • Decision making
  • Conflict Management
  • Dispute resolution
  • Facilitation
  • Giving clear feedback
  • Inspiring people
  • Managing difficult conversations

4. Teamwork – How well do you work with others?

  • Dealing with difficult situations
  • Dealing with office politics
  • Accepting Feedback
  • Collaboration
  • Dealing with difficult personalities
  • Intercultural competence
  • Self awareness
  • Empathy

5. Work Ethic – How well do you work?

  • Attentiveness
  • Business ethics
  • Competitiveness
  • Dedication
  • Dependability
  • Following direction
  • Independence
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Multi-tasking
  • Punctuality
  • Communication Standards

All of these soft skills, and many others, contribute to your success in the workplace.

As a manager, it is important to reflect and assist in the development of both soft and hard skills in the workplace for long term success of the employee. While soft skills can be more challenging to coach and teach, they are not impossible to teach, especially to those who are willing and eager to learn!

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