“Soft skills” are a set of positive characteristics and competencies that can improve job performance and productivity, strengthen relationships, and make an individual more marketable in the workplace.
While “hard skills” such as technological expertise or computational skills are the most important criteria for employment or grades in colleges/schools, soft skills are now considered equally important.
Creativity, problem solving, teamwork, empathy, and versatility are all examples of soft skills.
Why are these important?
Without a question, today's students will be our economy's potential employers and employees. Let’s see how soft skills are important:
Although traditional academic learning is the pillar of education, a positive school experience goes far beyond the science projects and annual examinations. Educators are realizing the importance of students' soft skills like teamwork, self-discipline, and conflict resolution. These skills help in shaping a student's future.
These skills may be a little hard to measure, but they are essential to a student’s overall growth and development. Test scores and good grades alone do not give you a complete picture of one's' education.
Employees, in general, require role-specific skills and abilities in order to perform their duties. High performers, on the other hand, typically have a few additional characteristics, such as the ability to communicate clearly, function well with others, and efficiently control their time.
Although artificial intelligence will continue to automate tasks that were previously performed by humans, these computers will not be able to replace soft skills. Soft skills will account for two-thirds of all jobs in Australia by 2030, according to a report by Deloitte Access Economics.
Soft skills are traits that allow you to communicate with others in meaningful ways. Since most jobs need teamwork, it is essential to have soft skills to boost your employability and land your dream job. These will help you in increasing your productivity in your career, developing professional relationships, and thriving at your work.
Don’t shy away from working on your soft skills because they look squishy, these can potentially make your resume stand out amongst the rest.
List of soft skills
Soft skills are linked to emotional intelligence, but also include skills such as communication, resolving conflicts, happy and positive relationships, collaboration and cooperation, likeability, creativity, civility, and openness, etc.
Here are a few of the most important soft skills that you should think of acquiring:
Adaptability: Adaptability is a soft skill that refers to the ability to pick up new skills and behaviors quickly in response to changing circumstances. It means that even if things don't go as expected, you'll be able to react quickly and take appropriate action.
Communication: It's the capacity to efficiently communicate or express thoughts and feelings. This could be the most valuable ability to have. Lacking this ability makes life more difficult because you are unable to communicate your brilliant ideas, words, and emotions, which may lead to bad relationships (any kind of). Even if you're an introvert, try to improve your communication skills, push yourself harder.
Good listening is also a part of good communication. As humans, we can always learn from the new experiences of others. Assumptions are the enemy of real growth. People assume things and with this, misunderstandings occur whether at the workplace or with friends and family. So to avoid these not so pleasant situations, work on your communication skills.
Leadership: Youth should learn leadership as a valuable life skill for their overall growth. Accountability, awareness, trust, empathy, sincerity, motivation, and optimism are some of the attributes that all successful leaders share.
There’s a powerful quote by Dwight D. Eisenhower – “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it”
Thus to make this happen you should have leadership qualities.
Critical Thinking: The ability to think logically and rationally is known as critical thinking. critical thinking requires you to use your ability to reason. It's about being a participant rather than a bystander when it comes to learning. You see, the more we understand ourselves, our strengths, and limitations, the more effective our critical thinking would be.
Creativity: It’s the ability to use the imagination to generate new ideas. Creative thinking requires a constant delving into yourself in order to develop more, newer, stronger, quicker, cheaper, and different ideas that can be applied to improve the important parts of your life.
Do you know? Creative thinking is one of the key skills needed in future jobs according to a recent report by the World Economic Forum.
And remember this quote by Hugh Macleod- “Everyone is born creative”
Collaboration: Collaboration skills enable you to effectively collaborate with others to achieve a common goal. This includes direct communication, active listening, accepting responsibility for errors, and mutual respect. If you will notice every skill is interconnected to each other. Learning one skill helps in getting good with another skill.
How can you achieve this?
You're probably wondering, "How do we improve our soft skills?" Some people believe that soft skills cannot be mastered, but they can be learned and polished just like any other skill. How do you do it? – By gaining an understanding of emotional intelligence and then putting it into practice in real life.
We know that soft skills are more difficult to acquire and master because they are more concerned with character, relationships, and personality than with traditional education.
It's important to remember that skills can be honed over time. To succeed, all you need is the right training and the dedication to succeed.
This means that even if you don't think you naturally have these attributes, you can develop them.