8 Soft Skills That the Future of Your Career Depends On
It is rather unfortunate how undervalued soft skills still are in today’s lifelong learning scene.
Soft skills training? Will that look impressive on my resume though?
Isn’t that a waste of time? It’s not really a “skill skill”, is it?
Lately, a lot of light has been cast on in-demand hard skills or technical skills such as data mining, software development, network and information security, and so on. No doubt, they are critical in building the future economy.
Despite the prominence that hard skills have been given, experts have mentioned that acquiring soft skills is equally as important. Some business owners even subscribe to the view that soft skills are in fact more important than technical skills. Surprise surprise.
So here’s the hard truth: A lack of soft skills could cost your organisation millions due to lost in productivity. And if we were to stretch that to a larger scale, just think about how much an economy could lose as a result of a lack of soft skills in its workforce.
Still not convinced? Let’s look at the more apparent examples:
Imagine a boss who is continuously faced with the challenge of retaining his employees. Think of all the recruitment and on-boarding costs. Think about the loss in productivity by having to retrain another employee. Morale. Efficiency. COST.
Imagine also an emotionally incompetent salesperson who loses his cool in front of a potential client. That’s one business opportunity out of the pipeline. COST.
Imagine your employees attending a conference but prefer to remain passive while your competitors’ employees are busy networking with potential clients. COST.
And there are many more examples to dwell on. But for now, let’s give soft skills a little more credit than they have gotten so far. For a start, here is a list of 8 soft skills that your career or business would critically depend on:
We all had that experience with that emotionally deficient individual (or two) that led us to have this thought in our minds, “What could I have possibly done to have crossed paths with this human being, Karma?” It is common knowledge that employees with high EQ are more adapt to work in teams. Paper qualifications can only get you so far – especially so for managers.
Who appreciates a black-hatter who spouts problems without ever suggesting a solution? #urgh. Whether we like it or not, we all have to make decisions on a daily basis – big or small – decisions nonetheless. Problem solving is a mindset – one that proactively strives to make the work environment better. Employees with this mindset are an asset to any organisation.
Whether it is to interact with clients or work in a team, communication skills should not be underestimated. Simply putting it, communication skills are a prerequisite for any professional to be successful. Watching the late Steve Jobs present at an Apple’s product launch is testament to how powerful communication skills are in getting an individual to be in line for hours and part with a huge amount of money in order to be in possession of a gadget weighing a mere 100grams. Seriously though. If that is not power, then what is?
Someone devoid of interpersonal skills is most probably a robot in human’s clothing. Interpersonal skills are what makes humans human. Business is all about relationship with your stakeholders and it is a known fact that people are more willing to work with others that they have a liking towards. Otherwise, achieving results may be difficult when you do not have good working relationships or know how to manage conflicts when they arise.
The biggest mythbust of the century: Leaders are born, not honed. It is great news that leadership skills, like any other soft skill, can be learned. The key to a successful business is a great leader. Being a leader in today’s economy is getting more and more challenging, what with managing a more dynamic group of employees (read: millennials) and keeping up with fast-moving trends. Leadership skills cannot afford to be static especially when addressing the concerns of the future workplace.
Who doesn’t look forward to a positive workplace? Everyone has that dream workplace in their heads where they arrive at the office and give a high-five to their colleagues. Start their work devices with a huge smile etched on their faces and punching their fist in the air after hitting the “Enter” button. Oh and here comes the boss sitting casually on his subordinate’s desk, engrossed in a deep conversation about bringing the organisation to greater heights. Yep, you get that mainly in stockphotos. But hey, we can always start somewhere. Managers who are able to make their employees happy through good work ethics would definitely facilitate a more positive environment at the workplace. On the other hand, toxic people at work are always seen as cancer, and cancer, more often than not, is removed in fear of affecting others.
Especially in today’s context, work conditions are changing constantly. Employees who are able to adapt and be flexible with these changes are valued over others as they are more dependable and resourceful. The key to being adaptable is to have an open mind. We will often find ourselves having to go beyond our comfort zone – an opportunity for us to grow. Do we embrace or evade?
Let’s face it. NOONE likes to fail or be critiqued. For the simplest reason: We do not like to be told we are wrong. While many see criticism and failure as a put-down, it is a useful tool for self-reflection and growth. Imagine this: If you’re digging a hole the wrong direction, you would prefer for someone to objectively tell you this at some point rather than finding yourself in a spot after investing so much into it. It helps to have your bubble burst from time to time. #selfcheck
As mentioned previously, soft skills can be trained and definitely will make you a better employee and/or leader. Improving your soft skills can give yourself a leg up for a promotion or an edge over the other candidates for a new job.
The tricky thing about going for soft skills training however is to firstly have the intention of bettering yourself. Many a time, individuals tend to have someone else in mind when undergoing soft skills training.
Manager XYZ is totally in need of this training. She is incapable of making her subordinates happy.
Focusing on individuals apart from yourself is counterproductive as neither you nor the person identified will benefit from the training.
Check out the infographic below!