What Are Soft Skills And Their Importance
Undoubtedly, the youngsters of today are the future employees and employers of global businesses. And, when it comes to skills in employment, individuals tend to lay an abundance of focus on abilities, knowledge, and training of specific skill sets. What are the candidates’ technical abilities, what software programming do they know, or can they type fast enough? While you think these skills matter, they do, and it will certainly give you an edge over the job competition, but they’re not the only MVP out there. Have you ever stopped and thought about your soft skills? Surely, soft skills aren’t an alien term, but there’s a lot left to comprehend. This article will chalk things out about these often overlooked skills that play a rather significant role in day-to-day operations.
What Are Soft Skills?
Hard skills are specialized knowledge and technical abilities that help an employee’s ability to perform a specific task. Like making sure a doctor knows what the aorta is. While technical skills may get your foot in the door, they don’t ensure your success in a job or at a company. Your soft skills are what open most of the doors to come.
Soft skills are non-technical, attribute-driven general skills that differentiate people with similar hard-skill-set from each other and relate to how you work – decision making, thinking outside the box, problem-solving, teamwork or how you adapt. Think of soft skills like a product. Having a great product is important, but it’s not enough. You need to package and present it in an interesting way to achieve your end goal.
Someone who’s excellent at technical skills but struggles with teamwork or managing time, may not be successful in the workplace. To thrive in any work environment, you need to have a desirable mix of hard skills and soft skills.
A few examples of soft skills are:
- Time management
- Work ethic
- Communication skills
- Decision making
- Conflict resolution
Importance Of Soft Skills
Every corporate job attracts millions of resumes, only a handful of those candidates get an interview call and only one goes on to land the job. But what separates the successful candidate from the other job seekers? If you said soft skills, you’re right! Why? Not only does nobody want to work with arrogant employees but also because, in this competitive world, your work isn’t limited to just what’s offered to you on paper. Every day you face something new so you’re required to stay on top of your game to maintain an optimistic and peaceful environment, handle conflicts, save time, give ideas for better business, or solve problems creatively to ensure higher productivity and efficiency.
Let’s delve deeper
Hard skills are devalued without effective soft skills
Let’s face it, you cannot optimally, successfully employ your technical skills without comprehensive interpersonal skills. No matter how technically sound a manager is, without attentive listening, time management, or building confident teams, they won’t be able to triumph. Similarly, all professional careers require soft skills to ace their jobs successfully.
Do you find yourself swamped with work but still procrastinating? It’s common to be ‘busy being busy’ these days and not achieving much. With the constant need to multitask and so many distractions, soft skills can play a key role in improving productivity. A team player with better leadership, problem-solving, and time management skills can be more productive than someone who lacks these skills. In an organization, each employee’s work is linked to the other which adds up to the larger scheme of things. Having a productive team will enable a company to achieve its goals. On a personal level, being more productive is more fulfilling, and can be a big step in advancing your career goals.
There are a lot of factors like having a wonderful product, a sound marketing strategy, tempting offers that contribute towards better sales figures. But it’s often the sales agent who has to take the last mile in converting a lead into a sale. Besides having better sales and profits, having a good sales team can also lead to better customer satisfaction, brand image, and brand loyalty. So, the big question – what would make up a good sales team? A salesperson who treats customers with dignity, understands their needs, and advises them of the product/service accordingly. Soft skills like teamwork, good persuasion, and negotiation skills are very helpful during the sales process.
Greater ability to work within and lead teams
Not just in team sports, teamwork is essential for the success of businesses. It’s important for the person in the leadership role to delegate work, make the right decisions in good time, and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the team. They should be able to lead from the front or step back and let the team do its job, as the need may be. When the team members feel motivated and appreciated, they can perform better. If the team members can collaborate and co-operate with each other, it enables them to pool in their individual strengths towards the collective goal. This way, you can complete work smoothly and the overall morale in the organization is better.
Increased recognition from teacher/superior/boss
Among the cluster of stars in the sky, you usually notice the star that shines brightest. These days most people with the same educational background would have more or less the same technical skills. But what makes one stand out more than the other are their soft skills. If you’re consistently performing well, have good communication skills, and are dependable, there are greater chances that your superior or teacher would recognize your work. This can gradually translate into better grades and placements if you’re a student and better growth opportunities, promotions, and a better pay package in your career.
Healthy work environment
The pressure of meeting deadlines, working in competitive environments, and performing well can be immense. While some people flourish in challenging situations, others break down, develop illnesses or simply give up. It hampers an individual’s growth and well-being at a personal level. At an organizational level, it could affect performance and lead to higher attritions. Having a healthy work environment where employees are flexible, friendly, and empathetic to each other, have mutual respect, and can manage stress better can work wonders both for the employees and employers.
Importance of Training
With the rapid advancement that’s taking place today, the shelf life of formal education alone is not sufficient. Employers are looking for more, like soft skills. Each individual has innate skills. Training helps you hone those skills to achieve your desired goals. It helps you understand your strengths and capitalize on them and identify weaknesses and work on them. It brings in a new perspective about actual situations you face in your daily life and equips you with the mindset to handle them. Investing in training as an individual or an organization can pay rich dividends over a period. Improved confidence and performance as an individual, and more efficient team, rich work culture, and better retention as an organization.
Life’s Hard, but Soft Skills Aren’t!
No matter if you have the best education in the world, without the correct soft skills like teamwork, work ethic, or motivation or enthusiasm at work, you may not reach very far. The problem with soft skills is they’re often undervalued. Hopefully after reading this blog, you’ve changed that view!
So, when you’re attending interviews or applying for jobs, what soft skills should you have? It’s all in part 2 of this blog. Go on, get reading!