As organizations lean towards the human approach to leadership and management, soft skills are increasing in popularity. Most recruitment and selection procedures include scouting for specific soft skills as they come in handy within organizations. While some soft skills are inborn, some can be acquired through training. Here are some soft skills that every employee needs to learn.
They say you can never over-communicate. Communication is crucial in all aspects of life, from careers to relationships. The better you are as a communicator, the more you understand, you are understood, and reduce all the conflicts that arise from misunderstanding. At the workplace, you need to be good at both the written and verbal forms of communication. You find that you have to use a lot of writing in emails, memos, and even text messages. You should learn to communicate in such a way that you are brief enough that you do not bore people, while at the same time, you have passed your message along. Communication also involves learning how to listen and listening to understand not to respond. When you really listen to the other person, you learn that sometimes there is more to what they are saying and therefore understand the feelings behind their words. As a result, you develop the ability to develop good relationships since you are empathic and understand the point of view of others.
In any work environment, you will constantly be solving problems whether big or small all day. You must learn how to solve problems and not relying on others to constantly solve problems for you. It will take some learning about critical thinking and reasoning in order to understand problems, analyze them, consider alternatives and find the appropriate solution for the problem.
Change is the only constant and you find that you will be faced with different kinds of changes all around you. You should learn adaptability such that you can handle changes when they come your way. Adaptability means being flexible to take on tasks, even different ones from the ones you are used to when needed because of the changes that have taken place. It is very common for human nature that we want to stick to our comfort zone and resist changes because they make us uncomfortable. However, with the current business environment, you are faced with change simply all the time and the more adaptable you are, the more suitable you are for employment. Employers want someone they can rely on when needed and that will not be threatened by change or resisting to changes.
Decision making does not come easy for everyone. If you have grown up in situations where decisions are always made for you, or you always rely on another person such as your spouse to make decisions for you, this is one skill you will have to train on. All-day, you will be making big and small decisions and the faster you make them, the faster you move onto bigger decisions. Some people are so afraid of making decisions mainly because they are afraid of consequences. Here is the thing, there will always be consequences, good or bad, in every decision that you make. What you need to learn therefore it to make a decision and take responsibilities for the consequences of the decisions that you make. Good training should take you through the process of decision making so that you understand what you need to do when called upon to make a decision.
Conflict resolution skills
Every time people work together, there will always be a form of conflict. This is because we think differently, we have different temperaments and we don’t always approach problems the same way. You will always face conflicts, some vital to organizational operations and others totally uncalled for. However, they are all important to the organization and conflict resolution is one of the soft skills every employee should have. First, if you hate confrontation, like most of us, you will have to face the conflict, no matter how much you dread it. The secret to resolving conflicts is doing it in such a way that relationships are not damaged and every party to the conflict feels that their interest is represented. Conflict resolution will take you a long way more so in your journey of becoming a leader in the organization.
Time management skills
It looks really bad if you are always the last person to rush into meetings disrupting everyone. It also looks pretty bad if no one can trust you to keep time and therefore they take activities with time constraints away from you because they are afraid you are going to screw it up. Time management is a very important soft skill at the workplace since all the targets in an organization are set against a timeline. It’s crucial that you learn to manage your time well so that you can accommodate all the tasks allocated to you, meet your goals and those of the organization, as well as avoid mental fatigue from always rushing against deadlines. Being a good time manager and being punctual also shows that you respect the other person’s time and helps you develop good professional relationships.
Sometimes emotions erupt at the workplace and it is not always pretty. Emotional intelligence involves becoming aware of your emotions as they take place and managing them accordingly. If you are one who is prone to anger especially when under pressure, you could learn how to manage these emotions so that they do not damage the relationships that you have created with those that you work with. The same applies when managing your emotions such that you do not pass the bad moods that you may have picked from home to those that you work with. Forming teams and relationships is important to the functioning of an organization and no one wants to work with a person that is always sulking, erupting with anger, or lacking the emotional intelligence of understanding the right kind of environment for certain conversations. This is a skill that one can learn and improve their experience in the workplace.
You should learn how to motivate yourself to become a valuable member of the team. Motivation does not occur daily and some people do not become motivated unless some form of reward or punishment is put in front of them. For an employee to become reliable, it is important that they learn to motivate themselves and reduce the amount of supervision that has to be put onto them to ensure that they get their work done.
Working with others
There is a lot of joy in working alone especially for introverts. However, sometimes you have to work with others since it takes a lot of teamwork and different expertise to achieve some organizational goals. Being a team means that you have to contribute, share ideas and listen to them so that you are on the same page. Teamwork also calls for showing up on time to team meetings and taking responsibilities for certain roles. Similar tactics are used in developing relationships with others as they are used in team development since for a successful team to be created, you must have created good relationships with your team members.
The modern workplace requires individuals to constantly learn new skills in order to accommodate the changes that are taking place in the work environment. Some of the skills we had learned some years ago may be obsolete and there is a constant need for you to upgrade your skills in different areas. While some organizations promote constant learning through training, you should also take the initiative to learn through opening yourself up to new experiences, taking online courses in areas that you are interested in, seeking to learn on the job through other employees, as well as finding mentors to help you with some skills such as leadership.