A Guest Post by Amber Callan
Soft skills –– as opposed to technical skills –– may be harder to measure and more difficult to evaluate, but they’re just as crucial to professional success. More and more employers value professionals with a wide array of abilities, which is why we’re going to highlight the ten most important soft skills professionals should seek to develop.
Consider this your ultimate soft skills guide:
Mistakes happen. No one is perfect. However, the best professionals own up to their errors and work to put things right. It’s always better to look for proactive solutions than to play the blame game.
No employee is an island unto themselves. No matter your industry, it’s important to understand how to communicate and get along with others –– even if you don’t always agree with them.
They say that no plan survives the battlefield. When things go awry, capable professionals know how to prioritize and manage a crisis. One key employee with a cool head can save a business in a jam.
You don’t need to be an artist to be more creative in your day-to-day activities. Creative individuals offer a spark that can greatly improve any project they’re working to complete.
Solving a new problem requires new approaches, new ideas, and new ways of doing business. Regardless of industry or experience level, individuals with strong critical-thinking capabilities will always be able to identify innovative solutions and put out fires.
The difference between a dream and a plan is a set of goals. Progressive professionals take time out to create lists of goals they want to achieve. This can take the form of both short and long-term targets, but all goals should be sensible, attainable, and worth pursuing in the first place.
Keeping tabs on all of your responsibilities is a difficult enough task. Yet, managers must be expert organizers to also manage other people’s actions. Just improving the physical layout of your desk or office can greatly increase your productivity.
Stress is inevitable –– you can’t control that. How you deal with stress, though, is up to you. Finding positive ways to channel anger and frustration and relieve stress won’t just make you a better professional, it will make you a happier and better-adjusted person!
Not all leaders are CEOs, executives, or managers. All professionals can benefit from improving their leadership abilities, because being a good leader is about putting others first. Knowing how to delegate, make tough decisions, and inspire others are traits that are valuable in all settings. Remember, great leaders are made –– not born.
One of the most difficult things to do is to put yourself in another person’s shoes. Seeing things how others see them requires a great deal of patience and care. The good news is that increasing your own empathy will improve the way you interact with others –– that includes friends, colleagues, and even rivals. The world doesn’t revolve around you, so do your best to take in the perspectives of others. Everyone will be better off for it.
Soft Skills Can Be Learned
Even though soft skills are not as easily learned as technical ability or passing an exam, they can certainly be developed and improved over time. Improving your soft skills can be tricky as this requires quite a lot of introspection, which can be difficult or uncomfortable if you haven’t done it before. Soft skills are an important skill to not only learn but also practice since, like any skill, they are perishable.
Also published on Medium.