The Collins English dictionary describes soft skills as "desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge.” Put in simple terms, they’re the non-technical skills that appeal to a person’s humanity ─ and they’re the difference between adequate candidates and ideal candidates. In fact, in a recent LinkedIn survey, 57% of respondents said soft skills are more important than technical skills!
Here are my top seven soft skills and advice on how you can improve them!
Communication sets the tone for how you are perceived and how your company is perceived through you. Being able to communicate effectively improves your chance of building relationships with coworkers and will help you extract clear instructions and expectations from your manager.
One of the best things you can do to improve your communication skills is to listen! By listening attentively, you will improve your chances of understanding and remembering what is being said. Also, try asking your peers for feedback on your communication skills. Find out where you need to improve and work on it.
Bad time management can have a negative effect not only your work, but on the work of your coworkers ─ and it’s frowned upon by employers. Employees who manage their time well are able to effectively prioritise tasks and organise their diaries, meaning they deliver on time and arrive when expected to meetings.
Improve your time management skills by observing your work timings and create a schedule to allow for your needs.
Working together towards common goals breeds success. Employers look for team work skills in candidates as it helps build a friendly culture which attracts and retains talent. Good team players are perceptive, as well as receptive to the needs and responsibilities of others.
Improve your team working skills by listening to others, sharing ideas and helping when others are in need.
Your ability to manage multiple assignments and tasks, set priorities and adapt to changing conditions and work assignments is absolutely critical. With rapid changes in technology, diversity and society, companies need employees who are open to new ideas, flexible enough to work through challenging issues, and generally able to cope when things don't go as planned.
Improve your adaptability by being open to alternative solutions and keeping your calm, even when things are moving fast or are stressful. A practical tip is to save some time on your to-do list for anything unexpected that comes up during the day!
When something goes wrong do you complain about it, or do you take action? Employers want people who come up with solutions rather than coming to them with problems.
From now on, when faced with a problem, try breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems. That way, you can take definite steps towards solving the problem as a whole.
Being able to resolve conflict with coworkers will help you maintain relationships and work more efficiently. Resolving conflicts by addressing them directly in a delicate manner will show your manager your maturity, as well as your leadership potential.
By having the ability to take charge of a situation and make sure that it gets resolved, you can show leadership even if you’re not directly managing others. Leadership can be thought of as a collection of various other soft skills, such as the ability to communicate effectively, good teamwork, and conflict resolution.
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