Soft skills are just as important in the workplace as hard skills. However, they are just as difficult to master and use effectively as anything else you might be doing at your job. We’re here to tell you about some of the most important soft skills you can practice every day, that will help you grow in your position as well as with your company.
Listening, Negotiation, and Nonverbal Communication
Listening: One of the hardest things to do is listen. You may think you’re listening to someone by just hearing their words, but there’s more to it than that. Truly listening to someone requires being fully invested in what they’re talking about so that you can give a proper response. Considering context, tone, and non-verbal cues could make all the difference.
Negotiation: It is important to know how to negotiate well. Negotiating involves a little give and take or compromise in order to come to an agreement with the other person. Sometimes, you may want to negotiate a pay raise, or negotiate more time off, or create a contract with someone. Practicing your negotiation skills on less-important tasks, such as light delegation, will help you strengthen this skill for later.
Nonverbal Communication: Ever had a conversation with someone who’s expressive? There are many messages that you can take note of that aren’t necessarily spoken. Is the person using their hands? Are they visually excited? Or, are their hands at their sides? Do they look bored or inattentive? Do any of these things describe you? Being aware of your nonverbal cues to coworkers and supervisors can help you send the right message.
Adaptable, Willing to Learn, and Logical
Adaptability: Are you resistant to change? Many of us are. Unfortunately, the working world changes often, and it is up to us to figure out ways to adapt to our new environment. Sometimes, being aware that changes may take place, instead of assuming that everything will stay the same, is a great way to prepare yourself mentally for the changes right around the corner.
Willingness to Learn: Don’t be caught stuck in your old ways if the old way of doing things isn’t efficient anymore. Similar to adaptability, be personally willing to learn new things, even if you don’t like them. Believe us; learning new things can be fun, challenging, and rewarding all at the same time.
Logical: Process events and changes as logically as possible. If a change means productivity will increase, view the problem rationally and compare it to how you responded to the change emotionally. Sometimes, the only way we can process a change is through an emotional response; however, that can often lead to problems. Learning to use logic to resolve conflicts and complete tasks will enable you to adapt to new environments and be more open to learning new things.
Conflict Resolution, Delegation, and Decision Making
Conflict Resolution: No one likes conflict. Unfortunately, it is almost always going to be a part of any workplace. Whether between bosses or co-workers, it is unavoidable. The most important thing is to employ one of your other soft skills, listening, to help you deescalate the situation. Chances are, you’ll know what to do when the time comes.
Delegation: If you are in a leadership position, delegating tasks and duties is extremely important, not only for the productivity of your team, but for their morale as well. Analyze each individual person’s strengths and weaknesses in order to give them tasks that they’ll be able to complete. Help them out if their weaknesses are slowing their progress.
Decision Making: You’ve got to fire one of two employees, but which one do you fire? Or, you’ve got to choose between two brands of products for your business; which one do you choose? Hone your decision making skills by learning to look at each choice logically. Will this benefit your work? Will this cost too much? Will your boss dislike the choice knowing it was the most efficient one? There are many considerations to take when making decisions; think about each one wisely and weigh the pros and cons.