How to Use Soft Skills in the Workplace
In the business world, we always think that we should get all the technical information before applying for a job and improve our hard skills, which would probably make us feel much more comfortable in a working environment. It is partially true. Yes, we all need hard skills to do our job properly, but we also need soft skills to support our technical abilities. To start with, we can make a better framework in our minds by categorizing soft skills into two groups — internal and external soft skills. Internal soft skills are mostly related to how you interact with yourself (self-confidence, self-awareness, critical thinking/problem solving, etc.) and external soft skills are mostly about how you interact with others (adaptability, negotiation, collaborative teamwork, etc.). Let’s dive deep into the topic of how soft skills could and should be used in the workplace.
How to Use Soft Skills in the Workplace
We live in a century when everything revolves around communications. So it’s no surprise that companies look for people with good communication skills to work with. Even if you work on a project alone, there still comes the time when you need some help or when you want to talk to the client. Good communication and listening skills are always there to help you.
Let’s think about a conflict or a dilemma that you might face at the workplace. Good problem-solving skill comes in handy here. It might seem like an internal soft skill, as it is mostly a cognitive task when it comes to work, but most of the time it requires conversation. Proper communication skills mean that you’re good at ego management and good listening. Like in this case, most of the soft skills are related to each other, and in different situations, people use them together without even noticing.
Some companies operate by having multiple projects, and some people might work on different projects at the same time. If you are in a business that requires you to be a part of different projects, having adaptability skills will help you to adjust to different environments and eliminate the stress of feeling like an outsider every time. Adapting is in our nature, but most of the time people do not like to change their way of thinking. But remember: “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
When it comes to teamwork, it takes a lot of soft skills to get a quality result. In case you have some problems with a teammate, you need to talk to them and try to find a mutual solution for a peaceful working environment. In this situation, you probably need to have good listening and negotiating skills and deep empathy. So if you think you are an introvert who doesn’t like to communicate and socialize with others, you better start pumping your communication skills because a lack of communication in a team project is most likely to fail.
Self-confidence and self-awareness are the main soft skills that you can have to boost your performance. Confident and aware people always know what they are good at and what they are bad at because they observe their work consistently. Without any supervision, they always try to improve their weaknesses and do their best.
Another internal soft skill that is crucial to have in a workplace is critical thinking. Even when the situation on their hand is complex, critical thinkers find a way to solve it most efficiently. Using problem-solving and critical thinking together helps people to find a way to save time and energy.
After reading this article, you might ask yourself: “How can I know which soft skills I have or which I lack?”. Of course, you get insights about your soft skills, and you can interpret them by yourself, but the best people that can help you to get answers to this question are your friends and coworkers. People unintentionally observe each other while socially interacting. That’s why simply asking you may discover your strengths and weaknesses.
Gaining or improving soft skills might seem harder than gaining hard skills as it isn’t easy to change your personality when you have been living like this your entire life. But practice makes perfect. It’s similar to when you want to gain muscles — you have to start healthy eating and workout, right? The key to this situation is consistency. Using soft skills in the workplace or even in your personal life will help you become a better version of yourself. Also, it may help you see different perspectives and points of view of other people. Get out of your comfort zone and push yourself to improvement!