Anyone can learn how to code, navigate computer systems, use various kinds of apps, send emails, etc. Anyone can learn technical skills. But, how do you learn soft skills? Where do you start?
Let's start with defining soft skills.
What are "soft skills"?
Let's say you are working on a team and there was a process implemented that you feel like slows people down. You want to communicate this concern, but not sure how. This is where soft skills come in! While hard skills are important to have, I'd argue that soft skills are maybe even MORE important.
According to dictionary.com, soft skills are "desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge." Think of soft skills as "people skills". You can use soft skills to communicate effectively, problem-solve, and think outside-the-box!
2 Important Soft Skills
Out of all the numerous skills listed out there, here are the 2 most important soft skills needed that will lead you and your team to success.
Everyone communicates differently. Everyone receives communication differently. You need to understand HOW to communicate, WHAT to communicate, and WHEN to communicate.
When you think about how to communicate, there are many ways to send information to your team. Let's say your coworker made a mistake on a project, how will you communicate with them? By email? During a team meeting or on a 1-on-1 call? It's important to think about your message and how the other person may receive it.
Think about what you are trying to communicate. Is it clear and concise? It may be best to avoid using "big scientific terms", to avoid any confusion or assumptions. Then, ask the person if they were able to understand your message. Be open to feedback and listen.
With a remote work culture, I think it's also important to keep in mind when to respond due to different time zones. You have to make sure that you're able to communicate effectively and respect reasonable response-times.
Want to reflect on the way you communicate? Check out this resource and take the quiz to see your strengths and weaknesses!
Change is the only constant in life. - Heraclitus, Greek philosopher
There will be changes, so you can easily expect them. It's essential to know what to do when deadlines get pushed up or your priorities change. With adaptability, there is critical thinking and you have to be willing to have a growth mindset. You have to think about a potential solution to the problem and collaborate with your team.
Along with this skill, you also have to understand your boundaries and set realistic expectations for yourself. Learn how to navigate the stress and emotions that pop up when things change. What is your workload like? Do you need help with other tasks? Learn to ask for help, you have a team!
How to develop soft skills?
Experience is the best teacher.
When you feel ready, ask your manager if there are projects you could manage and lead. This could be a great opportunity to learn more about yourself and put those soft skills to the test. This is also the time to ask for feedback or advice. Reach out to your coworkers and colleagues and mindfully listen to them. Learn more about your team and who they are as people.
I personally love 1-on-1's to check-in with one another. I use that time to get to know my coworkers and colleagues and make sure that we are working well together. I always ask if there is something I can do to support them.
Don't forget about the importance of soft skills in your professional career. Using soft skills can help you network which can lead to a potential opportunity! Showcase your soft skills during interviews to let them know that you're not a "robot" and know how to work with various kinds of people! Don't neglect soft skills or think they're useless. You will work with teams and people who you may like, and maybe not like. And, that's ok! As long as you are all able to work well together and get things done, then you are using your soft skills well!
Thanks for reading my 10th blog!!! Many thanks friend!
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