Are soft skills, in fact, some of the hardest skills to master? Indeed, managers’ and team members’ soft skills can be what makes the difference between a great communicator, leader and motivator and a mediocre one. Despite the importance of these skills, they’re being left on the side-line. A relatively recent focus on up-skilling – learning new skills or teaching workers new skills – combined with a rise in demand for candidates with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) qualifications, has left soft or interpersonal skills on the side-line.
Soft skills should be a key consideration for talent acquisition professionals when making a hiring decision. And employers should nurture and encourage development of these skills in existing employees for their professional development.
Here are three reasons why soft skills, from team work to time management, are important in the workplace and a few top tips for developing these skills in different job roles:
- Automation may have taken over and streamlined some administration and data-heavy tasks in the workplace, but there are certain human elements that technology is yet to master like emotions, authentic communication, people skills and personality.
From accounts assistant jobs to project administrator jobs, automating tasks can free up time better spent generating ideas, learning or organising workloads for example. You can also spend this time building upon soft skills:
- Organise a face-to-face brainstorm rather than an email chain to improve communication amongst a team and create a genuine buzz around new ideas.
- In digital marketing jobs or consumer-facing roles, make the most of the opportunity to use your communication skills to create an emotional connection with a target audience.
- Dr Ichak Adizes, founder of the PAEI management model, believes the best management teams feature a combination of four roles, each of which can be represented by a personality type – producer, administrator, entrepreneur and integrator (PAEI). Management and junior members of a team have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to soft skills.In recruitment jobs or HR jobs, strong communication skills – particularly spoken – are almost a given. If you work in HR and want to improve or you’re looking to get into the industry, here are some tips for perfecting your speaking and listening skills:
- Communicate face-to-face rather than via email to help boost your confidence
- Remove distractions like a laptop or mobile phone in meetings and really listen to your colleagues to ensure you can contribute and add value
- Different personality types and working styles co-exist in the workplace. If managers and team leads take responsibility for promoting soft skill development amongst their team – the whole business can benefit. If you’re a manager or lead, consider the following:
- An open culture of ideas and visibility can create a positive working environment
- Authentic leadership can motivate and drive others to want to succeed
- A proactive, strong work ethic inspires employees to use their initiative
From management accountant jobs to PPC jobs – in-house to self-employed – workers across the board can benefit from boosting their soft skills. Don’t underestimate the opportunities that could open up as a result of strengthening your interpersonal skills and business connections. Find out what personality type and working style you are, in seven simple questions.