Soft skills at work? What even are soft skills?
Soft skills are the skills which impact how effectively you interact with those around you.
Having soft skills at work will allow you to interact with others on a much more meaningful and personal level. These skills help you develop internal relationships with members of your team and are an important facet when developing your career. An example list of soft skills might include:
- Effective communication skills – articulating your point/desire succinctly whilst asserting your goals and inspiring those around you to take action.
- Team player – working in teams and with others is part of our everyday lives and being a resourceful player your team can count on is a valuable soft skill to have.
- Leadership – the ability to lead and inspire not only those around you but also yourself, especially when times are tough. This will help gain respect amongst your peers.
- Influence – influencing others around you to see, understand and believe in your point will help you achieve yours and the businesses goals much more effectively.
- Decision making – whether that’s through delegation or regarding a strategic position, the ability to make clear and clever decisions is a soft skill you’d want to have.
can you develop your soft skills?
Many ask ‘how can I improve my soft skills’ and in a nutshell, practise makes perfect. Naturally, there are training courses for things like assertiveness or personal impact and these can help streamline the development process, allowing you to enhance these soft skills much quicker than normal.
Immersing yourself in your working environment and pushing yourself to practise these skills will help you develop and build confidence. Taking the time to sit back and observe how you perform in a team, is one sure way of learning how you can optimise your performance and become more of a team player.
Another great way to develop your soft skills is to audit the personalities within your company and establish who has the soft skills you’d like to enhance or acquire? When doing so, you can look to spend more time with them and observe their soft skills. This will allow you to apply your findings to your teams, projects and general work-life.
why you need soft skills at work
It goes without saying that these sorts of skills are necessary. Soft skills hold as much weight as ‘hard skills’, especially when dealing with senior members of the business. For example, you may be putting together a pitch that requires monetary resource, but without the skill of effective communication, you’re never going to be able to acquire the finances, unless you articulate your needs in the right manner.
Another example of the need for soft skills may be that you could be a better team player. Now, you need an extra pair of hands to help you with this project you’re working on, but because you’ve not showcased ‘team player’ skills, your colleagues are reluctant to give up their time to help you out.
positive impacts of having soft skills
Having soft skills impacts both our personal and professional lives. Different soft skills impact workspaces in different ways. For example, being a team player can benefit both you and others around you. By collaborating on a piece of work, decisions and finished pieces may be delivered more efficiently thanks to the team. Conversely, having influence may impact you on a more personal level when looking to achieve success with your ideas.
increase in productivity
Productivity tends to increase within workplaces that have strong soft skills within their team. You are much more likely to be motivated to produce more for people who can inspire with their communication. Also, working for people who act as team players and not individuals, naturally makes those around them want to work as part of that team.
positive working environments
Teamwork creates a ‘community’ feel to an office and when we know we can rely on those around us, the workplace becomes a much happier place to be. Over time, this creates an inspired and positive working environment that others want to be involved in.
Trust and reliability are big factors in boosting workplace morale. These skills contribute to ensuring your team that you care about their wellfare within the workplace. This, in turn, gains respect and admiration from your peers who may also wish to act in a more selfless way.
efficiency in the workplace
Having high-quality interpersonal and communication skills has a big impact on the workplace. Being able to communicate goals and what you’re looking to achieve, in a smart and succinct way will increase the efficiency in the delivery of the work. This is due to the fact that your clear communication approach is easy to understand for those who know how to achieve it.
Additionally, the skill of time management impacts the efficiency of the workplace. If you and your team can optimise productivity and time, this benefits both the business and you. The business can take on more work thanks to the efficiency you’ve created, and you become trusted with more responsibility.
increased creativity and innovation
Being a creative problem solver builds a reputation around the office. You’re more likely to be asked to add your creative spice to certain pieces of work. Thinking outside of the box is what makes the world a better place each day and it’s, therefore, no surprise that the workplace is a much more fun environment to be in when we are given the opportunity to be creative.
With this, we can become more creative at solving working environment, productivity and efficiency problems. We can innovate on working processes to have a more purposeful impact on the way companies and our teams run.