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SkillsTalk

Why do soft skills matter in the workplace?

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay


Valuable as technical skills may be, no workplace can truly thrive without at least the most basic soft skills – abilities that are dependent on common sense, attitude, and social interaction rather than acquired knowledge. Such as a skillset is mandatory no matter your industry, and can bolster your professional and personal day-to-day tasks.

As such, soft skills are a constant priority among employers, helping make or break your chance at a job opportunity. Below, we break down the 7 most essential soft skills to have in any workplace, and why they matter in your career.

What are the 7 essential soft skills?

  1. Communication
  2. Resilience
  3. Leadership
  4. Collaboration
  5. Decision-making
  6. Critical thinking
  7. Time management

Communication

An almost always sought-after skill – communication can help determine your relationships with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders; project or overall company performance; and how well you approach conflict resolution.

With excellent communication skills, you’ll not only be able to articulate your thoughts and ideas in a clear, concise manner – but you’ll also know how to vary your interaction style depending on another’s personality, actively listen to other’s problems, and avoid general misunderstandings.

This skill is the oil that keeps a business running; without it, collaboration and productivity are bound to fall apart.

Resilience

Resilience allows any worker to spur forward even in times of stress or difficulty. It encompasses traits like self-motivation, drive, and a positive attitude that helps one maintain a determined, level head in the face of change or crisis.

Through resilience, workers are able to learn from their mistakes and use these crucial lessons moving forward. Their often confident, positive perspective can also help motivate those around them, leading to an overall happier and more productive workplace.

Leadership

Every business requires an effective leader to guide them to success. However, each worker should exemplify at least some extent of leadership skills – not only to manage others when necessary, but to make effective decisions, delegate tasks, motivate colleagues and resolve conflicts without the help or supervision of their manager.

As such, leadership is often one of the most valued skills on the job market, with plenty of training courses available to help one sharpen these abilities. Upskilled, for instance, offers a couple of online programs to get one certified in leadership and management – verifying these skills for any workplace.

Collaboration

Collaboration goes hand-in-hand with leadership and communication. It is the ability for employees to work well with others in their team, which includes the sharing of new ideas, the ability to grant constructive feedback, encouraging others in times of difficulty, and lending a helping hand when necessary.

Not every personality will be a breeze to work with, so having this skill is valuable in maintaining a professional and productive attitude, even in times of conflict. Without the ability to collaborate, a worker may end up attempting to handle specific tasks or responsibilities on their own, which can ultimately compromise the overall efficiency of a business.

Decision-making

A successful business relies on effective, well thought-out decisions. Having the ability to make these can help you make a significant impact on your company, regardless of industry.

Creativity and problem-solving play a key role in this process, as one considers their possible options and the potential benefits or consequences of each. However, sometimes it may not matter what the actual decision is (or whether it was the optimal one) – but that you made one in the first place. The simple ability to just be decisive forms a core part in making this a valuable soft skill.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking helps one break down complex problems or arguments; connect ideas; and pinpoint errors in a given situation. It can thus enhance all other aforementioned soft skills, particularly one’s decision-making, leadership, and communication abilities. 

With sharp critical thinking skills, you’ll be able to ask the right questions, understand complicated information, and perform the appropriate research for a given task. They make you a more strategic and analytical person, allowing you to draw conclusions without letting your own personal opinions or feelings affect you.

Time management

Finally, every productive employee knows how to manage their time wisely. This includes the ability to properly plan, prioritise, and set (daily, weekly, and monthly) goals for oneself, helping them improve their efficiency in the workplace.

This allows you make decisions in a timely manner, catch project deadlines in time, and maintaining a good work ethic.

Excellent time management can also help free your plate of unnecessary time sinks (i.e. sifting through one’s inbox, social media distractions, etc.), granting you the extra leeway to work on more meaningful tasks or explore more professional opportunities.

What are examples of soft skills?

While the above abilities are often considered the “most essential” among general workplaces, they’re also each a category for even more specific soft skills – many of which overlap with the others.

We’ve broken down a few attribute that comprise these seven soft skills below.

Communication:
  • Empathy
  • Assertiveness
  • Emotional intelligence

Resilience:
  • Self-motivation
  • Confidence
  • Adaptability

Leadership:
  • Decision-making
  • Communication
  • Relationship-building

Collaboration:
  • Assertiveness
  • Relationship-building
  • Emotional intelligence

Decision-making
  • Analytical capabilities
  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving

Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Perception
  • Analytical capabilities

Time management
  • Stress management
  • Organisation
  • Goal-setting

Why do soft skills in the workplace matter?

No matter your workplace, soft skills will always be non-negotiable. They significantly bolster one’s technical (hard) skills by enabling them to work productively and efficiently, without getting bogged down by interpersonal conflict, communication issues, and misjudgements.

They may also be seen as higher in value by some employers, as technical skills can be easily taught, while soft skills rely on sharp intuition, common sense, and social ability – all of which are often moulded through our life experiences, rather than built through professional training.

Additionally, while artificial intelligence (AI) is reported to automate over half (63%) of Australia’s cubicle jobs by 2030, the skills relying on “human touch” will stay high in demand – as these “soft” abilities are far harder to replicate through computer programming and automation. Those with both sought-after digital skills and a strong interpersonal skillset will thus future-proof their career path for years to come. 

If you’re looking to build both your technical and soft skills, Upskilled offers a wide variety of courses to help you get started in your ideal industry. Through comprehensive courses in IT, business, community services, and more – you’ll sharpen the hard knowledge required of your chosen role, while enhancing your soft skills such as communication, collaboration, and time management, in the process.

Best of all, each program is delivered online, helping you train at a pace, place, and schedule that suits you best.

Build the skills you need for your dream career today – and enquire with us on a course. 

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