THE 7 MOST IMPORTANT SOFT SKILLS IN THE WORKPLACE
Nowadays, companies are aware that soft skills are as important, if not more, as “hard” or technical skills: they’re the biggest success indicator for employers. As such, they seek them in prospective employees, build teams around the particular skillsets of its members, and invest in soft skills courses for managers.
What are the soft skills most in demand?
But whereas some soft skills in the workplace contribute to the bigger picture, paving the way and maximising chances of success, others are fundamental: a company, simply, will not function if the following soft skills are not present and encouraged.
Interpersonal skills include all those that fall under communication and interaction with others, from conflict management to collaboration. People who have them tend to say they’re “good with people”, empathetic, and diplomatic.
Interpersonal skills are always at the top of demanded soft skills, and for good reason. It’s not just that amiable people network better and create tighter teams; being able to share your expectations and needs in the workplace, as well as understand others’s, is crucial for the functioning of a business, since up to 86% of employees report bad intercommunication as the main cause of inefficiency.
Oratory, or public speaking, involves refining oral communication to convey a speech, presentation, or similar message in an impactful and succint manner. Someone with oratory skills knows how to be articulate in every intervention, effectively stealing the spotlight and ensuing that their interventions are striking, smart, and memorable.
Public speaking combines a variety of skills that play together, such as confidence, charisma and interpersonal skills. Oratory is one of the most sought after among soft skills courses.
Adaptability remains crucial in a digital world where technological advancement grows exponentially and devices and programs are renewed with dizzying speed. Employees have to be ready to keep up with the tech, pick up new skills fast, and stay on top of their niche.
This is also relevant for the job market in general. Gone are the days where you had one job for life; in the age of the cloud, market needs shift fast and without warning, and being ready to change course has more value than refusing to grow and change.
Assertiveness can be defined as the ability to hold your own ground without losing sight of valid criticism and input from others. An employee isn’t a cog in the machine: companies seek people who will voice their ideas and concerns confidently, have clear boundaries and lead the way, not just follow. Like other soft skills, assertiveness is comprised of a precise blend of other, more specific personal and interpersonal skills that can be developed.
As artificial intelligence gains terrain to human craftsmanship, technical skills that can (and will) soon fall under machine responsibilities, critical thinking, the most human of skills, takes on a prominent place among demanded soft skills in the workplace. Critical thinking includes abilities like contextualization within bigger, chaotic systems, foresight for unexpected risks, and wise assessment and decision-making through difficult times.
Critical thinking is invaluable for big business decisions that could make or break a company, but it is also essential for day-to-day analysis, like the kind involved in time and project management, task prioritization, and others that involve making difficult choices.
Coaching is the skill of guiding and supporting people in their path of self-development and improving their performance. As such, coaching is one of the most complex soft skills, because it involves responsabilities like providing guidance, feedback and perspective for growth, putting oneself in someone else’s shoes, and active listening. Coaching is the hottest trend, but coaches that are actually good are rare, and needed in every organization.
Leadership skills are not just for CEOs: in fact, they may just be the most decisive skill that determines whether a person will rapidly advance in their career and provide value to their employer, or stay stuck in an unremarkable, stagnant position. The person at the head of a team has more influence than we think: bad leadership sinks the boat, but good managers make history.
Effective leaders have a complex set of skills that allow them to communicate clearly, delegate and direct teams of people, motivate them and listen for feedback, and handle the unforeseen with adaptability and nerve.
The benefits of using soft skills training: get ahead of the trend
There’s a widespread conviction that soft skills are innate: some people are born extroverted and confident, and some have remarkable intuition for how to lead others on. But iit’s important to remember that all soft skills can be learned and honed later in life.
Some of the most important soft skills seem inherent to the situations they’re needed for. How can a manager develop leadership qualities without a team to lead? Soft skills training is the answer. An MIT study found that soft skills courses could give back as much as 250% ROI in under a year.
Because of this, trends show that the top companies in the world can and do rely on soft skills training to prepare their talent and guarantee happier teams and exceptional business results.