What Are Soft Skills?
To summarize, soft skills are personal qualities that allow us to relate well with others. These talents improve our personal interactions and lead to better job performance and fulfillment.
Soft skills, which are interpersonal and can be used in a variety of settings, differentiate us from hard skills, which are the technical and knowledge skill set we bring to our jobs.
Soft skills cover both personality attributes, such as optimism, and abilities that may be improved, such as empathy. Soft skills, like all other talents, can be learnt.
Applying these abilities helps us produce higher-quality work, collaborate more effectively, and improve our professional prospects.
We frequently concentrate our career advancement efforts on technical abilities, knowledge, and other skills that are directly related to our capacity to complete work-related activities. This implies we overlook important soft skills development.
Soft skills, on the other hand, may be applied to any profession, company, or industry. As a consequence, they are an investment well worth making.
Soft skills can include, or relate to, the following:
• Critical thinking
• Conflict resolution
• Problem solving
• Emotional intelligence
• Handing difficult people
• Delivering constructive criticism
• Working under pressure
• Team work
• Managing people
• Time management
• Organizational skills
We can learn all the knowledge in this world, but it is necessary that we have some soft skills which are required for any business or profession. Some of these soft skills are easily acquired by nature and some of them can be learned by yourself. These days most of us will have come across these two types. Let’s have a look at some of them here.
1. Discipline: This is something that comes with age and not by learning it from others. The only person who can teach you discipline is yourself, but for this you will have to be very determined. If you are not disciplined, then no one else can make you disciplined.
2. The skill of negotiation: This can be very handy at times like during employment, for reducing bills and even if you want to buy a product from market and do not want to pay the dealer’s price.
3. You will need to learn about time management: It is one of those soft skills that can help you in your professional life. You will need it to be punctual and reach the office before time. It is a must have skill for people who work in offices. However, if someone has this skill then he/she can also manage their own timings according to the requirement of their job.
4. Good Communication: You cannot be a good professional if you are not able to communicate properly. If your communication is good then it will help in understanding the client’s point of view and this can be very helpful for his/her future projects too.
5. Willingness to learn new things: As time passes, technology has been changing rapidly. We cannot do our work with the knowledge that we may have acquired 5 years ago. So it is advisable that you should learn new soft skills as well as hard skills because it will help in your future.
6. Patience: This is one of those soft skills which are necessary to acquire for doing any kind of business. It is advised that you should be patient enough to listen to your clients and know their requirements well.
7. Positive thinking: Many people think that positive thinking is all about telling yourself that everything will be fine, but it is much more than mere words. In order for you to have a positive attitude towards life, you need several types of soft skills which include, being confident at all times, remaining determined and motivated to achieve your goals.
8. You must be able to learn from your mistakes: If you want to grow in life then it is very important for you to be able to learn from your own mistakes. It will help in making good decisions in the future if you have learned from the wrong decisions that you made in the past.
9. You should be able to work in a team: Soft skills are not just for professionals, but they can also be used by students who are studying at schools and colleges because this will help them in getting more friends which will be beneficial for their career as well as the future growth of the company.
10. Self-motivation: You should be able to motivate yourself in order to get ahead in life. Even if you get success, then also you need proper motivation and encouragement from others. Still, if no one around you is motivating you properly by offering good words of encouragement; you will have the power within to pursue your dreams and achieve them.
11. Leadership: This is one of the most important soft skills that you will need. Basically, it means to be a good leader and no one can teach this better than yourself since it is all about having confidence in your abilities.
12. Personal grooming: Always keep yourself well groomed because soft skills also include personal grooming which is very important in today’s world. You should go for a haircut, shave or wax from time to time because grooming yourself properly will help you in your future career as well as personal life.
13. Ability to work under pressure: You will need to acquire this skill in order to deal with stress and tension because you cannot afford to lose your mind. This is one of the most important soft skills that you can have.
14. Willingness to accept new challenges: If you are not open minded, then no matter how skilled you are, you will not be able to move ahead in life. Again this is a very important soft skill which will help you tremendously in the future.
15. Confidence: You should have a healthy amount of confidence in yourself and not let any negativity bog you down. This is one of the most beneficial soft skills that you can acquire anytime, anywhere.
16. Nice speaking skills: If you have a nice speaking voice and can speak to people well, then it will be helpful in the future. If you still think that this is not important for your success then just think about a person who has a very harsh or unpleasant tone which makes other people uncomfortable, do you think he/she will be able to succeed in life?
17. Ability to communicate: This is another soft skill which you should consider acquiring because it will help you a lot if you can understand and speak the language of your clients.
18. You need to acquire good listening skills: Soft skills are very important for everyone, but they are most beneficial for those who have the ability to listen to people because it will help you in making a good connection with them. In fact, you should be able to listen to even your enemies and further make an amicable relationship with them.
19. Logical reasoning: You need to apply proper logic when solving problems or else everything will just become a mess in front of you because there will be no order or direction. You need to have strong logic in order to enhance your reasoning skills because this is something which will definitely help you out in the future.
20. Problem solving skills: This is another important soft skill which you should acquire as early as possible since it can benefit you a lot if you are good at solving problems fast. There are many people who don’t know how to solve problems and hence they do not progress in life because no one wants to hire someone who is not able to offer good solutions for the problems.
21. Ability to motivate others: Soft skills are not just for yourself but they can benefit other people as well if you have the ability to motivate them. A good motivator is always successful because he/she knows how to handle people and motivate them in order to get better results.
22. Ability to multitask: If you are not good at multitasking then chances are that you will never be able to move forward in life because all successful people know how to do multiple tasks simultaneously.
23. Ability to get along with all kinds of people: Since you are going to work in a team, it is extremely important for you to know how to get along with people from different backgrounds because if you can’t, then there will be constant friction which will definitely hamper your growth and progress.
24. Strong vocabulary: You need to have a proper and good use of words in order to communicate with people. If you are not able to express yourself properly then no matter how talented you are, your talent will be useless because only a few people will come in contact with you.
25. Verbal communication skills: These soft skills can help you a lot in the future if you are good at expressing yourself through words. This is important because it can help you during job interviews and when you need to influence people.
26. Presentation skills: Do you think that a weak presenter can be part of an organization which has many competitors? No, because everyone knows how important presentation skills are these days. Even if you are not good at any particular skill, but you have strong presentation skills then it will be easy for you to convince everyone about your talent.
27. Interpersonal communication: This is an important soft skill which can help you a lot in the future because this is what we see in most of the successful people around us – they know how to connect with people. They know how to read the mood of the person and then present themselves in such a way that it allows them to be extremely successful.
28. Networking: This is another soft skill which you need to acquire because this will allow you to expand your horizons and hence give you access to unlimited opportunities. You can become extremely successful if you know how to network with the right people.
29. Assertiveness: This is another skill which you should develop because this will allow you to express yourself and speak up for what you think is right. Without proper assertiveness skills, it is not possible for anyone to move ahead in life because they need to be a leader and a strong personality for this.
30. Learning from mistakes: This is extremely important because you need to learn from your own mistakes in order to become successful because only then will you be able to avoid all of your previous mistakes which you have made in the past. You need to keep making new mistakes and learning from them in order to become successful because only then will you be able to move ahead in life.
So if you want to have a bright future ahead then it is very important that you must learn the above mentioned skills and hence improve your personality by following may be any of them so that you can have a bright future.
Hard and Soft Competencies
The terms “hard” and “soft” are used to explain how technical abilities, such as data entry or project management, fit into the job. Hard skills include technical talents such as data inputting and administrative abilities.
Soft skills are defined as “interpersonal, human, people or behavioral abilities needed to apply technical talents and knowledge in the workplace” (Weber et al. 2009; De Villiers, 2010).
The most important skills for today’s job are: empathy and communication. Empathy and communication are seen as complements to hard skills, which are required for successful workplace performance.
Hard skills are those that pertain to a specific technical knowledge and task-oriented abilities (Ashbaugh, 2003). Hard skills are typically of the mental or cognitive type. They are most likely influenced by an individual’s intelligence quotient (IQ) (Rainsbury et al., 2002).
Soft skills are often associated with interpersonal, emotional, and behavioral abilities, emphasizing personal behavior and interacting with people (Buhler, 2001; Douglas & Christian 2002; Rainsbury et al., 2002). The majority of soft skills are emotive and behavioral in nature. It’s assumed that an individual’s emotional quotient (EQ) has an important role in determining success (Higgs, 2008).
A good example of a soft skill is communication. When the job requires communicating and working with other people, it’s important to have good communication skills. The same idea can be applied to time management and critical thinking skills.
Hard Skills: hard skills are also referred to as technical abilities or job-specific skills. These are the measurable abilities that are developed through formal education or training, which you might acquire in school or through a job. Hard skills include academic knowledge, typing speed, medical coding, and certification in CPR.
Due to the fact that technical/hard skills may vary depending on the situation and function (e.g., for an auditor or events manager, project management may be considered a hard skill, whereas the same skill might be seen as a soft skill for a debtor or line manager), two domains of competencies will first be established and subsequently broken down into more specific competencies. The two domains are Personal Competence, including the four components of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management; and Social Competence.
There are three types of interpersonal skills: personal skills, people skills, and communication/language (Bakker & Demerouti 2007). Personal skills are your personal attributes or characteristics that have a direct impact on how you are perceived by others. People are usually categorized into either task-oriented or relationship-oriented based on their preference of being goal driven or sociable in their approach to work (Morgeson, Reider & Iles 2008).
People skills are your ability to communicate or interact with others. Communication is more than just talking; it includes interpreting messages and understanding the meaning behind them.
Language & Grammar Skills
The five types of language and grammar skills are: reading, writing, listening, speaking and spelling.
Critical Thinking Skills
There are a variety of critical thinking skills that employers look for in new hires. Critical thinking skills are associated with problem solving, decision-making, and creativity.
Time Management Skills
There are many different types of time management skills that can be developed over time. One of the most important time management skills is prioritizing tasks in a way that you can efficiently complete them while still maintaining quality performance.
Work Processes & Procedures
People are repeatedly exposed to the same processes at work, which means that it is important for employees to be able to follow these rules in order for them to get their jobs done efficiently.
Managing Workplace Relationships
Managing Employees & Subordinates
Remaining Up-to-Date in One’s Field
Showing Initiative: the ability and desire to identify and pursue opportunities with good potential for improvement. Being proactive helps an organization be more efficient.