Also known as people’s skills, soft skills refer to both interpersonal skills and character traits that elucidate how a person can work and interact with others. This category of skills encompasses a wide range of skills such as leadership, teamwork, empathy, time management, etc. Further, more emphasis on soft skills is put over hard skills which mainly constitute of specific set of knowledge and quantifiable abilities. Soft skill development is paramount in every individual’s life because they are universally required in almost every industry and field. Through this blog, we will take a look at their basic meaning, how they are different from hard skills as well as the different kinds of soft skills one needs to possess for personal as well as professional growth.
This Blog Includes:
- What are Soft Skills?
- Hard Skills Vs Soft Skills
- Major Types of Soft Skills
- How to Facilitate Soft Skill Development?
- How to Develop Soft Skills in the Workplace
- What are the Major Soft Skill Training Topics For Employees?
- Soft Skill Development Courses
What are Soft Skills?
Also called as non-technical skills, soft skills are those personal values and interpersonal skills that determine a person’s ability to work in a collaborative environment. Soft skill development must be carried out as they are vital to one’s professional life as they help individuals to excel in the workplace. However, they are not just career skills but are also needed to deal with the external world and to work cohesively with one’s associates. While communication skills are amongst the most common, time management, adaptability, creativity, leadership and teamwork are also the essential ones.
Hard Skills Vs Soft Skills
Hard skills are technical skills required for the accomplishment of a task such as workplace productivity tools, artificial protocols, etc. These skills are easy to identify, quantify or measure as they either exist or don’t. On the other hand, soft skills are typically hard to diagnose. Hard skills can be considered as core skills required for completion of a job, and soft skills complement them. When these skills are present together, they help an individual flourish in their field thus assisting them in actualising their career aspirations.
Major Types of Soft Skills
Before elaborating upon how soft skill development can be carried out, it is important that you understand the different types of these skills. So, below we have elaborated some important soft skills which when developed can help a person thrive at both personal and professional front.
Considered as the crucial one, written and verbal communication is essential to build stronger professional as well as personal relationships. If someone communicates suavely, misinterpretation is minimised and the receivers become more receptive to our suggestions. Effective communication skills comprise of good cognitive, auditory and visual processing skills. While working on soft skill development, beginning with improving your communication is an essential step as it can help bring the rest of the abilities in place.
These are defined as qualities which are required to lead effectively and efficiently. A good leader exhibits strategic thinking, time and people management, persuasion, to name a few. Most people tend to think that leadership skills are job oriented, so they don’t have much implication in a generic person’s lifestyle. However, leadership roles are not restricted to work environments and are present in varied areas as they are directly connected to managing tasks in an expert manner.
A pivotal trait that one requires to handle different situations, Critical Thinking must be an important part of the process of soft skill development as it is essential in both personal and professional context. One needs critical thinking to solve complex situations and find probable solutions. Every industry needs critical thinkers to simplify complicated problems, be it commercial domain or technical and that’s why this skill can definitely assist you soar further in your career.
Etiquettes or Manners are something that everyone possesses in one way or another, but quite a few understand their significance. Appropriate behavior establishes a trust factor among the communicating parties. For those who are communicating for the first time, etiquette contributes to projecting an excellent first impression. In the process of soft skill development, working on your behavioral skills and etiquettes is essential. Whether you are appearing for a personal interview or managing a team, your body language and etiquettes are incremental to create the right impression and establish yourself.
Emotional intelligence in the workplace is considered to be one of the most sought after soft skills. Being able to have a proper hold over your emotions, understanding your colleagues feelings as well as motivation leads to harmonious relationships focusing towards better productivity. It enables one to judicially handle their own emotions and alongside empathising with the emotions of other team members and colleagues.
One’s ability or flexibility through which they are able to embrace the challenges as well as changes is referred as adaptability. Expected problems and tricky situations usually arrive at the workplace, adapting yourself to the situation and the given task quicker than the others is what makes one more adaptable than others. You should adapt the practice of viewing such situations as an opportunity instead of obstacles.
In our discussion of soft skill development, this is one of the most important mentions. Being equipped with creativity as a soft skill enables one to find unique and innovative solutions for variable situations at the workplace. Here, creativity must not be mistaken with artistry or designing; instead, it is more of a problem-solving skill. Sometimes, the usual tasks at the workplace get automated or mundane; it is the creativity of the employees to tackle them in productive ways which are highly valued by the leading organizations.
How to Facilitate Soft Skill Development?
In order to improve your skills, it is important to actively look for ways to furnish them. The first towards soft skill development is to identify those abilities that you need to imbibe and those that need improvement. Below we have listed some of the major ways to work upon your soft skills and shine in your career:
Take an Online Course
From workshops to full-fledged classes, one can find an array of soft skills courses on digital platforms. Like attaining hard skills such as Photoshop, Coding, etc., you can pursue online courses available at Udemy, Coursera and edX, etc. for soft skill development especially for improving your communication, leadership, problem-solving and analytical thinking abilities.
Opt for Career Counselling
Another way to pursue soft skill development is to seek a career counselor who can help you identify the skills you need to work upon and those that you might be lacking. For the same, Leverage Edu mentors can assist you by providing you with a psychometric test which can further assess your interests and skills. Sign up for a 30-minute free career guidance session with us and we’ll guide you towards polishing your soft skills.
Be Open to Feedback
Once you have started the process of soft skill development, the most important thing you must keep in mind is to take feedback from others. For example, if you have been working hard to improve your written and verbal communication, make sure that you actively ask others to know whether you are getting better at the same.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
In order to sail farther towards ensuring personal and professional growth through soft skills, practice is the key mantra to follow. Whether you have taken an online course or are opting for self-study, make sure that you practice what you have learnt with others. Ask your friends to set up a mock interview to test your communication or take online tests to examine your critical thinking abilities.
How to Develop Soft Skills in the Workplace
Being equipped with a bunch of soft skills at your workplace act as an icing on the cake. It helps you showcase your hard skills in a more lucrative way. Here are some ways through which you can ace soft skill development at the workplace.
- Develop a learning mindset
- Encourage self-reflection
- Expand knowledge and understanding
- Provide opportunities for practice
- Offer feedback often
What are the Major Soft Skill Training Topics For Employees?
Listed below are some of the important soft skills about which the employees of an organizations can be trained-
- Critical thinking
Soft Skill Development Courses
For all those who are looking forward to honing their soft skills through courses, then here are slime of the most popular online courses for it-
- Teamwork Skills: Communicating Effectively in Groups – Coursera
- Creative Thinking: Techniques and Tools for Success – Coursera
- Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills – Coursera
- Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects- Coursera
- Basic Skills in Constructive Communication- Coursera
- Soft Skills: The 11 Essential Career Soft Skills- Udemy
- Soft Skills: The 10 Soft Skills You Must Have in Workplace- Udemy
Hence, we hope that this blog has helped you understand the varied essentials of soft skill development. Take the benefit of our exclusive 30-minute counselling session at Leverage Edu and we’ll guide throughout the process of mapping your skills and abilities through a psychometric test thus helping you excel in your career in the best way possible.