Soft skills that will make you invaluable
Soft skills for career success
Most people who are seeking new jobs or are currently working, focus only on gaining expertise and technical knowledge through education or training programs. They completely miss the importance of soft skills and lose out on opportunities to improve their work performance.
While the hard skills make you proficient in carrying out job-related responsibilities, it is the soft skills that help you work efficiently and create a positive work environment.
These essential skills are desirable and applicable in every profession. They not only make you stand apart and give you an edge over others but also provide you with opportunities for career advancement.
Soft skills guide your behavior in different situations and make your work easier no matter the organization or position you work in. This helps you tremendously in making rapid progress and growing in your career.
Soft skills are, therefore, skills of the future. And the best part is that they are all learned skills. To get ahead, you must be mindful of their significance and prepare yourself to hone as many skills as possible.
Here are six essential skills you must learn to advance your career.
1. Communication skills
While working with others — superiors, colleagues, staff, or pitching to prospects — your ability to interact with them can make or break your chances of success.
Giving and receiving information and understanding and being understood by others play a critical role in gaining clarity and concision. It helps you comprehend what is being told and what you need to do.
To be an effective communicator, you not only have to speak well and put across your point but also develop the art of good listening, observing others, and picking up non-verbal cues.
In today’s digital age, there’s an increasing need for honing skills for good communication in person and through emails, text messages, phones, and social media.
2. Interpersonal skills
People skills are needed in everyday communication. You may have deep know-how of your work, but without proper social skills, you’ll feel awkward and find it challenging to work.
Strong interpersonal skills go a long way in facilitating interaction with bosses, teammates, junior staff, and clients. It helps you work smoothly with different types of people and build healthy relationships.
Your ability to converse and communicate effectively, pick up hints, and catch signals helps in bonding well, ironing out differences, providing proper responses, and resolving conflicts at the workplace.
3. Critical thinking skills
Critical thinking refers to your ability to gather facts and data, process, analyze information and situation and interpret it effectively and skillfully to reach better outcomes for challenging tasks and problems.
Your ability to learn to think critically enhances the quality of your thoughts and enables you to put aside your feelings and emotions to reach logical conclusions and make a better judgment.
Critical thinking skills, therefore, deeply impact all aspects of your life. They are essential for forming your own opinion, reasoning through pressing issues, making informed decisions, and figuring out the best way of doing things and improving work quality.
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4. Decision-making skills
Decisions and choices have consequences. While some everyday decisions are simple, others involve risk, have high stakes, and involve understanding complicated issues.
Making choices and taking rational decisions should therefore be an ordered and a thoughtful process.
Decision-making skills involve understanding the problem, assessing if it is real, looking below the surface and beyond the obvious, and coming up with practical and valid options.
Knowing how to review various alternatives available, choose the best option over others, and make a deliberate, logical, transparent decision will help you take tough calls, increase work efficiency and foster a good work environment.
A good decision-maker possesses the ability to process relevant information and find the best way forward. The ability to make quick decisions is a great asset that will help you solve problems and navigate tricky situations, all without letting feelings, emotions, or biases affect your choices.
Unpredictability rules the world of work. Though you may plan to have an organized and structured day, few things are under your control.
Surprises can come your way in various forms: things go wrong, stuff happens, you encounter unusual situations, new people join you as teammates, or you may altogether have to change the way you work.
When you are expected to cope with and masterfully work your way around the challenges, your adaptability skills come to your rescue and help you take control by enabling you to quickly learn, unlearn and relearn how to make things work.
Your ability to adjust and flex in the continuously changing work scenario to fit in the changed circumstances will enable you to learn new things, take up challenges and be open to newer opportunities, all of which will enhance your career success.
6. Emotional intelligence
We are all emotional beings, and sometimes when you get upset, this side of yours can leave you wrapped up in feelings and get the best of you.
The same can happen with others as well. When things go wrong, and people are under a great deal of stress, they instinctively lose their cool and yell at their teams or juniors.
Once emotions run high, there are outbursts of anger, and things can quickly get out of hand, affecting both work and relationships.
Being aware of your emotions and conscious of their impact on you and those around you can help you act in a calm and controlled manner, especially in highly volatile situations.
People with high emotional intelligence can recognize and monitor their emotions, titrate their behavior accordingly and make the emotions work in their favor rather than against them.
The way we work has changed rapidly over the past few years. In today’s ever-changing job market, soft skills cannot be ignored. They are as important as the technical skills, if not more.
Developing soft skills helps boost your productivity and increase your ability to work with others, making you a great fit for every job.
So if you want to excel and stay at the top of your game, hone your soft skills and empower yourself to move further in your career and life.
CONTRIBUTED BY Dr. Roopleen
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