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8 Important Soft Skills to Excel in Life - Soft skills are personal attributes that influence how well a person works or interacts with other people. They make it easier to form relationships, build trust, and dependability.  

In the workplace, soft skills are considered to be a complement to hard skills, which refer to a person's knowledge and occupational skills.
Source: by Brooke Cagle

Soft skills have more to do with who people are, rather than what they know. As such, they encompass the character traits that decide how well one interacts with others and usually are a definite part of an individual's personality.  

These skills allow an individual to interact with others effectively and harmoniously, and are rapidly becoming a determinant factor in the hiring process for many organizations. 

Why are soft skills important? Interacting with other people requires some level of soft skills. At your place of work you might be required to present a new idea to co-workers, negotiate to win a new contract, networking for a new job and so on. And having these skills allows you to do just that.

A lack of soft skills on the other hand limits your potential and can even lead to the downfall of your business or career. By developing strong leadership, delegation, teamwork, and communication abilities, you can run projects more smoothly, deliver results that please everyone, and even positively influence your personal life by improving how you interact with others. Soft skills not only apply to your professional life, but your personal life too.

1. Work ethic

Commitment, dedication, effort and loyalty are some of the qualities that a good work ethic is comprised of.  

Having a good work ethic is about being committed to a role, taking pleasure form the success, being inspired by challenge and change, and being a great advocate for an organisation both internally and externally. 

While you may have a manager to oversee your work, many companies don’t like to spend time micromanaging employees.  

They expect you to be responsible and do your job which means arriving to work on time, meeting the required deadlines and minimizing mistakes in your work. And going the extra mile shows how committed you are and the lengths you’re willing to go to produce the best results. 

People who are seen to have a good work ethic are often great candidates who are eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

2. Problem solving 

Problem solving skills are soft  skills that you can apply in tough, unexpected or complicated situations that surface in the workplace.

The ability to use your knowledge to find answers to pressing issues and  come up with workable solutions shows that you can indeed handle your job well and even excel at it.

When faced with a problem you can either dwell on it or take action. Initiative and action are what will get you noticed in a positive way. You need to know how to adapt and think on your feet as it will make you stand out.

Companies rely on their top employees to course through unexpected problems and find the best solutions. Another useful tip would be to approach employers with solutions rather than problems.  

When an issue comes up, make sure you think of how you can address it first before bringing it to your boss. Regardless of your position in a company, problem solving skills will serve as an attractive asset to an employer.

3. Communication

Communication skills are important in almost every industry out there. You’ll probably have to communicate and interact with various people on the job including clients, customers, colleagues, vendors and employers.  

Therefore, you need to be able to speak clearly and politely with people whether in person, over the phone, or in the form of writing. Verbal and written communication skills are important at your place of work because they set the basis on which your co-workers and supervisors see you. These skills help you build a good relationship with the people you work with. 

Part of possessing strong communication skills is being a good listener. Employers are looking for employees who are able to not only relay their own ideas, but listen to others too. 

Whether you’re working in the field of business and need to be the voice for the department in meetings, in the healthcare sector where you need to listen to the concerns of your patients, or anywhere else to be honest, listening to others is a must.

Also when you’re new to the organisation you’ll need to listen actively when others speak. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn  something.

Turn away from your computer screen and phone for a minute and focus on what’s  being said. The more you listen the more you’ll learn. You also pick up bits and pieces of information that may be useful during your career.

Having good communication skills are also important because they improve your performance. The takeaway from this point is that, good communication ensures you’re  on the same page as everyone else.

4. Leadership 

Not every job opening is a leadership role, but most employers will want to know that you’re able to make the right call when the need arises  and you can manage the situation and the people involved.

When looking for prospective employees,  employers want someone who is able to step up to the plate, when there’s a matter of concern, and help resolve it.

They want employees with leadership skills because they’re interested in people who can rise in the ranks as time goes by.

Your leadership skills will most likely make you more visible where you work which further leads to potential opportunities, so whenever extra projects come, don’t be afraid to take them on and create a team that will help you achieve your goal.

Just because you don’t have a title that implies you’re a leader, it doesn’t mean that you’re not. Having confidence in what you do is important in the workplace.  

Have a clear vision and use your great skills of communication to influence your colleagues in a positive way to get them on board with your ideas.

Being a leader, however, is more than simply getting people to do what you want. You could be the person people go to in the case of an issue, be it work related or otherwise. 

Whenever you can, inspire others and help them reach their potential. Why not take another employee under your wing and be their mentor. You’ll be of great help to them and you’ll also learn how to instruct, manage and motivate.

5. Teamwork

Are you capable of working well with others. Being able to work effectively with those around you be it in a team project or while attending a few departmental meetings, is vital to a company’s success.  

Collaboration can be referred to as the combination of working with others on a project or working with others to find solutions to a problem. 

Part of working in a team includes being able to negotiate with others and recognize, and appreciate diversity in a team. You’ll also need to accept and apply feedback from others as well.  

Even if you don’t always agree with someone, you’ll need to learn to work with them. Someone hiring will look to people who can  collaborate to be productive and efficient while enjoying what they do at the same  time.

A friendly work environment is one where everyone enjoys working, and it also helps to attract other creative and talented people to the company. It also most certainly improves the quality of work. You’ll be required to work alongside others in every industry at every level in your career.  

Doing so in an efficient and responsible manner can help can help you accomplish career goals, broaden your resume and contribute  positively to your organisation.  

It also helps you build rapport with others  which can lead to deeper working relationships, new connections and if possible new opportunities. No matter your industry or job title, teamwork skills are essential to your success at work.  

Working well with colleagues, clients, managers and other people at the work place helps you complete tasks efficiently while creating an enjoyable working space for both you and others. 

One key thing to remember is that, a company’s  success doesn’t stream from one person’s efforts.It’s achieved when they find employees who are willing to work together to reach a shared goal.

6. Critical Observation

Critical observation is one of the most essential soft skills especially in the corporate sector. It allows you as an employee to see a problem before it arises and interpret data so as to meet the ever evolving needs of your company.

Information doesn’t mean much if you aren’t able to analyse it. You have to look at your data or facts and try and see if any pattern emerges. Being a critical observer can help your overall performance at work.

From your observations you can make informed decisions on the options you have  and which would likely produce the best outcome. 

Companies need people who can see beyond what’s in front of them. They want people who can bring fresh, new ideas to the table and be on top of the competition and improve the company too.

While a lot of organisations focus mainly on  teamwork and communication, critical observation should be present as well. Because without it, all the stats and graphs and trends won’t mean a thing, because there won’t be anyone to convert the raw data into actionable goals.

7. Curiosity

A sense of curiosity is one of the most undervalued soft skills that contributes to career success. A sense of curiosity can be understood as a state of active interest or  genuinely wanting to know more about something.

New employees are usually on a steep learning curve. You’ll have to learn all about the job you were hired to do, the company and the industry itself.

You’ll have to be curious and learn all you can so you can do your job effectively, and stand out from other employees.

Cultivating and exercising our sense of curiosity opens up our willingness to embrace new experiences, unknown situations  and varied environments. On top of that it lays the foundations for discovery, whether that’s new information, people or experiences. 

Being curious may lead to a positive outcome or a less exciting one. Your willingness to take risks comes with the possibility that the result will not benefit you, but the learning process itself will add value.

8. Positive Attitude

Let’s not forget how important it is to have a positive attitude. Employers want people  who will bring a positive attitude to the office.  

Someone who will be friendly to others, eager to work and generally a nice person to be around. If you work in a fast-paced, high-stress environment, you’re going to need to keep things positive.

It’s the only way you can push through and accomplish your goals even when faced with obstacles.

Well, thank you guys so much  for reading today’s post. I hope you enjoyed and found value in it. With that said, have a great day, and I'll see you all in the next one.

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