Oftentimes, a professional focuses on the technical know-how of his job and acquires or updates his skills to meet the demands of his job.
Howbeit, the acquisition of hard skills is prioritized by many at the expense of soft skills. Have you ever given it a thought, that your communication and interpersonal skills will further endear you to a patient than whatever diagnostic inferences you can draw from the medical condition of that patient?
Would you rely on your expertise and get drained while trying to figure out that project? What are your options? You can engage your team, leverage the ability of others, and synergize ideas to efficiently execute the task given to your department. Without soft skills, chances that you will remain employed or get a promotion may be slim.
Definition of Soft Skills
Soft skills are also known as people skills. They are personal attributes that enable a person to interact and work with others. At your workplace, your success and career growth are intrinsically linked to the best use of soft skills.
Soft skills are lifesavers. Why focus on hard skills only when you can adopt soft skills to position yourself rightly and unlock greater career-driven opportunities? While hard skills are mostly knowledge-based, soft skills are personality-driven. Soft skills are generic, therefore regardless of your profession or organization, you need them. It is a lifestyle you adopt to enable you to thrive and survive as a professional.
Are soft skills difficult to learn? Well, research says soft skills are not as easy to learn as hard skills. The good news, however, is that they are not impossible to learn. You could learn by observing those who have them, taking training on the skills you need to develop, or being proactive to develop your skills by practicing. If you want your technicality and expertise to be efficient and effective, you need to develop soft skills.
Let’s consider 5 major soft skills every profession needs:
# Skill 1- Communication
This is knowing what to say, when to say it, how best to say it, and listening as much too. A multitude of words may not necessarily translate to comprehension. One principle that can help is KISS: Keep it simple and short! Cut out ambiguity and know when to stop excessive jokes. Identify the mood and use an appropriate tone and approach to pass your message. Engage in conversations using suggestions sometimes, and don’t carry the title of a chatterbox, learn to pause and entertain feedback.
Be flexible enough to know how to communicate with different people, whether online or offline. The way you pass a message to your boss, colleague, or client might be different based on their understanding of the subject matter or situation at hand. This will go a long way to determine your productivity.
# Skill 2- Teamwork
The ability to relate with people and work well with them is one skill HR managers look out for when hiring employees. No one works in isolation, even as a sole proprietor of an enterprise. Building interpersonal skills are important because you will have to interface with colleagues at meetings and work on projects as a team. Here are some ways to foster teamwork in an organization.
Even if you do not have a close rapport with some team members, you must be able to work effectively together without completion, and conflict because it is not an individual win. Your ability to listen to feedback and apply recommendations as best thought by the team, for the benefit of achieving the set goal(s) is also a key determinant of work performance.
# Skill 3- Leadership
Everyone is not born a leader, but everyone can develop leadership skills. The role you applied for was not a managerial or top executive role, obviously true. However, at your job, you will be given certain responsibilities that require you to activate your leadership roles. There are times you will have to make an executive decision that will determine if the organization makes more sales or win a contract deal. Would you rather fold your hands and do nothing, when you should step up to the plate to save the situation?
Your ability to inspire others, manage people, resolve conflict, facilitate a presentation, work effectively with little or no supervision, get a newly employed officer in your department settled on the job, organize team members on a project is equally as important as your design skills in imagery. Leadership skill is one important soft skill you cannot ignore. Got that?
# Skill 4- Problem-Solving
This particular soft skill is a measure of your ability to think and provide a solution when there is a problem. It encompasses your ability to identify, observe, analyse, and creatively proffer a possible way out of a challenge and arrive at the resultant goal. This role is not just for the strategy or innovative department, neither is it for you alone. Your ability to engage others and leverage their opinions to reach a solution is also a measure of the application of this soft skill to achieve a task, enhance your work performance and career development.
# Skill 5- Emotional Intelligence
The ability to identify and understand your emotions, and positively manage them in relation to people and situations is an important skill for success. How you react when you are happy, sad, angered, stressed, or under pressure determines how well you can manage your life and career. The application of Emotional Intelligence is not only personal, but requires that you are sensitive to other people’s emotions; pain, struggles, etc., and also connect with them and provide honest feedback without further hurting them.
Employers will watch out for your reactions and actions and if your Emotional Quotient (EQ) does not match up with your Intelligence Quotient (IQ), it might be a red flag. To enhance interpersonal work relationships, and be successful, here are 12 ways to improve your emotional intelligence in the workplace.
Your profession, colleague, employer, and client require the best of you. This can only happen with the right combination of your attributes and professional expertise. You need to balance technicality with soft skills to stand out in your profession.