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Soft skills are often overlooked during the recruitment process resulting in hiring people that lack them. This is a small hurdle as you are able to hone soft skills by practicing them or in more severe cases, completely changing certain processes in your workflow. Soft skills allow for long-term success in any given work environment. This success is due to better communication which stems from better connections between coworkers and even the higher-ups.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are skills or abilities that determine how well you work alone and how well you work with others. Some examples of soft skills include:
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
  • Decision Making
  • Adaptability
While there are training and classes that offer to teach these skills, they’re generally learned over time as you accumulate years of experience. Practicing soft skills is the best way to improve them, as they require you to interact with other people.

Communication Skills

Being able to effectively express yourself to a team is critical in all workplaces, even more so if a work process involves more than one person and there is a risk of a bottleneck somewhere in that chain. Being able to have the right people comprehend your message is crucial when working in a team leads to more efficient work and greatly reduces the chance of failure. In the post-pandemic world we live in, there’s a greater importance in being able to communicate through writing as work chats have become a staple for those not working in the office. The ability to convey a clear and concise message, either verbally or in writing, can make all the difference between a successful task and a misunderstanding that can cause serious problems down the road. By communicating effectively, you will be seen as an effective teammate. Aside from the benefits to efficiency, you will also be seen as the go to person to converse with. This comes with the ability to motivate and encourage others, which over time can evolve into a more leadership style position.

Interpersonal Skills

These are the behaviors and tactics a person uses to interact with others effectively. This skill is closely related to communication as it can be verbal and nonverbal, it also encompasses a person’s ability to work with other people, conflict management, empathy, listening skills, and attitude. Think of someone who is described as incredibly agreeable and able to sway anyone over to their side. While these skills are intangible, there is a way to find out if someone has them. Simply go up to a team of people and ask who’s the one person they all turn to for help or someone they trust for advice, there’s a high chance there’s going to be one recurring name and that’s the person with the highest soft skills of the group.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Skills

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions in yourself and in others. It is often abbreviated as EQ or EI, with EQ being more popular in the mainstream. Empathy is only part of EQ as it is what allows you to recognize and understand how others are feeling. The control and evaluation aspects are equally as important, especially when dealing with a team, as it allows for more effective communication. With every member of a team having their own unique personality, being able to read when something is wrong allows you to be ahead of the curve. Preventing unnecessary drama or problems is a huge benefit to the team. In cases of arguments, the ability to deescalate an aggressive confrontation allows breathing room for all concerned parties. Being known for your ability to solve “people” problems makes you favored and indispensable in all work settings, not to mention it makes you reliable to everyone including management.

Decision Making Skills

As trivial as this sounds, being able to decisively make choices on the fly when needed is necessary in team settings. While this duty usually is the responsibility of upper management, it sometimes takes someone taking responsibility for a task and making the hard decisions in order to get the ball moving. What makes this critical in a team and also will better your connections with everyone on said team, is the ability to take into consideration everyone’s opinions when making decisions, especially when done quickly. By factoring in everyone and all appropriate factors, you can help make decisions, or if you’re the person in charge, directly make the decision that will benefit everyone while still getting the job done efficiently.

Adaptability Skills

Adaptability is one of the more underrated soft skills on the list. It is the ability to overcome unforeseen obstacles when trying to achieve a goal. People who are adaptable are also described as flexible and these are the same people who don’t waver when faced with adversity. This isn’t to be confused with going with the flow, as this may result in failures if the flow goes downhill. Having mastered or at least being used to adapting may even have you anticipating events. This anticipation can help create backup plans in order for everything to still proceed as smoothly as possible. This ability essentially makes you the go to person when the going gets tough, being the person everyone can rely on to get the job done no matter what.

The Wrap Up

Soft skills are all essential skills that make you an asset to a team. They all help you contribute to a larger idea than yourself. Something as seemingly simple as communication can make all the difference between an effective team and one that is struggling to perform even the most simple of tasks that require coordination. Being able to work effectively in a team requires all of these skills and the best part is that they can be learned. It does help if you’ve developed them over the course of your life, but it’s never too late to start learning them.