The term “soft skills” is frequently thrown around in our professional lives. Our careers are often determined by our soft skills and how we apply them in our work.
- Soft skills are necessary for becoming emotionally intelligent
- Our technical skills can improve with good soft skills
- We become more receptive to feedback and better at giving feedback with excellent soft skills
- Soft skills in the workplace are necessary for career growth and development
- Good leaders show excellent soft skills
- Healthy workplace culture starts with the presence of soft skills
Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of overlooking the importance of soft skills. This is a huge mistake if you want to be successful in your career.
Recognizing the importance of strong soft skills is the first step to improving the soft skills that you need to grow in your career.
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#1. Soft Skills Are Essential For Developing Emotional Intelligence
The modern workplace can be challenging to navigate. Especially when looking for ways to progress our careers, considering what makes us unique as employees are essential to our success.
This is where soft skills can come into play.
The skills we possess in the workplace can often be boiled down into two main categories: soft skills and hard skills.
Let’s start with the first one.
What Are Soft Skills?
Soft skills refer to the non-technical skills you possess that can impact your work performance. For example, soft skills can help you demonstrate how well you interact with other employees, how you manage time, and how you problem-solve with ease.
You can obtain, possess, and improve a wide range of soft skills.
The Top Workplace Soft Skills
Though soft skill examples are seemingly endless, there are a few key soft skills employers are always dying for their employees to have. These include skills like:
- Critical thinking skills
- Work ethic and drive
- Interpersonal communication abilities
- Active listening
- Leadership and dependability
- Conflict resolution
- Adaptability and flexibility
But perhaps the most vital aspect of soft skills is how they affect someone’s emotional intelligence. In fact, sometimes the terms soft skills and emotional intelligence are used interchangeably.
Soft Skills And Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EI) is our ability to perceive and demonstrate emotions in order to communicate with those around us effectively.
We utilize EI whenever we
- Feel sympathy after someone tells us a sad story
- Can embrace and adapt to change
- Accept responsibility for our actions or mistakes
Like soft skills, there’s no limit to how we can flex our EI. But it can be tough to have good EI without properly developed soft skills.
When we’re emotionally intelligent, we are awarded a competitive advantage. Positive personality traits and personal attributes can show a high level of EI.
There’s no doubt that EI is essential both in the workplace and in our personal life. Heck, even our corporate entertainers need a strong EI! So taking the time to explore, train, and develop soft skills can go a long way in improving necessary workplace skills.
#2. Technical Skills And Soft Skills Go Hand In Hand
As we mentioned earlier, there are typically two kinds of skills in the workplace. The first is soft skills, and the second is hard skills.
Hard skills, also known as technical skills, are essential to any workplace.
What Are Hard Skills?
Hard or technical skills are skills in the workplace that are measured, easily defined, and are typically specific to a job or career path.
Technical skills include bookkeeping, experience with specific programming software, or even a university degree. The key differentiator between soft skills and hard skills is that hard skills can be easily proven.
For example, let’s say you have five years of experience with Python. During your job search, a hiring manager asks you to demonstrate your knowledge of this programming language.
In this scenario, your performance would determine if you possess the hard skill of knowing how to use Python.
Why Are Soft Skills Important For Developing Hard Skills?
It should go without saying that hard skills are essential for many organizations and businesses to run efficiently.
Hiring managers won’t hire employees lacking the specific technical skills needed for a job. They also usually won’t hire candidates lacking certain soft skills.
Keep in mind you can’t grow your technical skill set without relying on your soft skill set.
Take, for example, someone possessing strong leadership and social skills. This person would have a relatively easy time growing a professional network and connecting with prospective clients. In addition, excellent people skills like this can allow them to improve sales and customer retention.
On the other hand, someone without good communication skills who may avoid networking opportunities altogether will likely be stuck with a low client retention rate. By not developing strong soft skills, they’re on track to fail.
You can’t excel in your career without soft skills. And you can’t develop your technical skills without utilizing your soft skills.
#3. It Allows Us To Find Areas Where We Can Improve
When analyzing how we want to grow our careers, an essential step is scrutinizing where we stand professionally. Knowing our strengths and weaknesses is critical for figuring out where we need to improve.
Soft skills allow us to reflect inward and successfully recognize areas of improvement. If we discover that we may not be the best at directing others, we will know to focus on developing strong leadership skills.
It’s Easier To Respond To And Give Feedback
Especially in the hiring process, it’s critical to know how to respond to feedback (either negative or positive). Feedback shines a light on areas we may be weak in and allows us to develop stronger soft skills.
Soft skills are also essential for company leaders. In fact, many employers don’t know how to give feedback.
So when employers and company leaders can grow soft skills and become emotionally intelligent, they are able to foster a sense of understanding, empathy, and respect for their employees. And this gives them the soft skills necessary to provide constructive feedback to their team!
Bonus: 9 Meaningful Ways To Give Thanks To Your Employees This Holiday Season
#4. Soft Skills Allow Us To Reach Our Professional Goals
It’s normal to feel a sense of pride, ambition, and initiative in your career. If you have professional goals that you want to reach, focusing on growing your soft skills is essential to be successful.
In fact, the new so-called golden rule of the modern workplace is “Hire for attitude, train for skill.”
This essentially means that hiring managers place a higher importance on soft skills like attitude, social skills, and problem-solving, rather than black-and-white technical skills.
A team player with fresh ideas and excellent critical thinking skills is likely a better candidate for open leadership positions than a stuck-up, fixed-mindset loner. The most important skills to have in the workplace are usually soft and somewhat abstract.
#5. It’s How We Can Lead By Example And Make Good Leaders
Actions speak louder than words. Especially in the workplace, good leaders are the people who inspire their workers through their deeds.
This is done with soft skills. Soft skills allow leaders to listen attentively to their employees and cultivate company changes. People with exemplary soft skills are leaders and people who bring about positive change.
Treating others with respect and using professional and appropriate language is one way this is done. Take, for example, our team here at Clean Comedians®. All of our corporate speakers provide fantastically hilarious comedy at company events without resorting to dirty or crude joke tactics.
So when you trust us for your company event, our speakers will be able to truly show your team what great soft skills look like. Our speakers use positive emotions and laughter to treat the audience to a great time.
And an outstanding company event is one way to help cultivate fantastic soft skills in the workplace!
#6. They’re Necessary For A Healthy Workplace
Many factors come into play when determining an organization’s culture. But everything can come down to the soft skills present in the workplace.
A happy and healthy workplace starts with things like putting on engaging company events, offering training programs for employees, and encouraging social interaction. But none of these things would be successful without soft skills.
Soft skills allow us to be emotionally in tune with those around us.
Soft Skills Let You Connect Emotionally With Your Team
When a co-worker is having a bad day, soft skills give us insight into their feelings and tell us to show care and compassion. Good communication and interpersonal skills give us the fuel to collaborate with our team to meet deadlines.
Without an emphasis on developing, growing, and maintaining our soft skills, our workplace wouldn’t be able to thrive.
Soft skills are essential for more reasons than one in all aspects of our careers and professional lives. Finding ways to grow and improve as a leader or employee is the first step to creating a happy and healthy experience in the workplace.
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Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.