In our modern business world, corporate enterprises no longer undervalue or overlook soft skills, it’s quite the opposite actually, they are now considered more valuable than technical skills.
What are soft skills, exactly?
Soft skills are your personal attributes that enable you to interact and relate to the world and people around you. They are your transferable and intangible skills that are non-technical like interpersonal communication, problem-solving and negotiation.
Most of us develop our soft skills through life experiences and influences and we tend to start learning them early on in life.
It can be easy, however, to neglect our soft skills when we are under pressure or in stressful situations, or if we are really not that extroverted.
Why are they important?
It’s important not to forget about them though because sometimes they can be the key solvent to navigating a tricky situation or circumstance. They help your intuition, initiative and integrity on both a personal and professional level. They are the skills that help you decide what is socially appropriate behaviour in stressful environments and they can be extremely useful when you are trying to deal with a crisis, make sense of a scenario or just plain dealing with the day to day.
The list of soft skills is endless but we’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 most in-demand soft skills among business executives. Found in the study, ‘Executive perceptions of the top 10 soft skills needed in today’s workplace’.
- Integrity. It’s your moral and ethical principles, and acting with honesty and truthfulness are central to having integrity.
- Communication. It’s the transferring or relaying of information to others where they are able to understand.
- Courtesy. This is the act of politeness and respectfulness toward others. When you are being courteous you are being considerate.
- Responsibility. It’s being reliable and trustworthy to fulfil your duties and obligations. It’s also the act of being accountable for your actions.
- Social skills. This is the understanding and sensitivity to others around you, knowing how to relate and interpret social environments and knowing appropriate behaviours.
- Positive attitude. It’s remaining optimistic and enthusiastic, and demonstrating initiative towards your work.
- Professionalism. This is being well mannered, punctual and well groomed.
- Flexibility. This involves a number of different skills such as collaboration, compromise, willingness and open-mindedness.
- Teamwork. It’s the ability to work with others towards common goals. Collaborating and communicating.
- Work ethic. This is essentially your conscientiousness towards your work.
Developing your soft skills takes practice and experience, we can’t be experts overnight.
Is there a gap in your soft skills tool kit? Do you want to develop your soft skills? Take a look at our professional development workshop Developing Emotional Intelligence.
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