We all need our technical skills to be successful in our jobs, but technical skills alone are not enough for career growth. Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center found that 85 percent of workplace success is attributed to soft skills, and only 15 percent of job success comes from technical skills (hard skills). What’s more, a 2019 LinkedIn blog reported 57 percent of senior leaders say soft skills are more critical to their businesses than technical skills.
So, what are soft skills and what does this really mean? Soft skills are your interpersonal skills sometimes referred to as “people skills; I prefer to call them your “smart skills.” Soft skills reflect how you communicate and interact with others and involve a variety of attributes including communication, collaboration, problem solving, social skills, adaptability and more.
Those with strong soft skills are adept in managing conflict and working as a team. They have excellent oral, written and nonverbal communication abilities as well as high emotional intelligence (empathy, self-awareness, social skills, motivation and self-regulation). They show respect, and they gain respect. They’re the consummate professional.
The good news is you can learn and improve your soft skills. With hard work, commitment and practice you can develop key soft skills to help catapult you to a higher level of career and – personal – success.
The following are eight essential soft skills, when cultivated, will set you apart from the rest:
Communication is the language of leadership. Developing strong written, oral and nonverbal communication skills are critical to convey clear messages and build report It’s also essential in developing trust and healthy work relationships. Listening is key, too.
When confronted with a problem, a problem solver takes initiative and does what it takes to resolve the issue. They approach the concern in a professional manner with good self-regulation. Problem-solving skills are highly sought after by employers as many companies rely on their employees to identify and solve problems.
Possessing strong social skills such as kindness, a sense of humor, empathy, respect and etiquette are not only expected in the workplace, they are necessary for a harmonious, productive environment. No one likes to work with a hot head or an irritable person.
Working collaboratively is paramount to success. Being a team player means maintaining an open mind, appreciating other’s work styles, showing flexibility and keeping your eye on the goal. Teamwork brings together different points of view and allows for creativity and fresh ideas to flourish.
A strong work ethic exemplifies a multitude of character traits such as integrity, discipline, dependability, motivation and responsibility. Your work ethic communicates how much you value your job. Employees who exhibit a high-level of work ethic are assets to a company and are typically recognized for the efforts.
Managing time effectively demonstrates one’s ability to work efficiently and productively. Possessing strong time management skills allows you to prioritize and recognize the importance of delegation. Great time management also highlights other key skills such as goal setting, focus and stress management.
The adage, “The only constant in life is change” speaks volumes when referring to the importance of being adaptable. Theses skills allow you to embrace change and be prepared to handle whatever might happen that day or in the future. Adaptability reaps lots of benefits including added value, managing adversity and your well-being.
Creativity is the ability to come up with a new idea or think “outside the box. Businesses in all industry sectors seek employees who can think creatively and bring new perspectives to the workplace.
About the Author:
Nancy Schnoebelen Imbs is an empowering professional development consultant, dynamic motivational speaker