Why Soft Skills Are More Important Than Ever Before
As the rate of skills change accelerates across both old and new roles in all industries, proactive and innovative skill-building and talent management is an urgent issue. What this requires is a talent development function that is rapidly becoming more strategic and has a seat at the table." — World Economic Forum
The term “soft skills” refers to such attributes as effective communication, time management, problem solving, working with teams, selling, negotiating and overall working well with others. These can have a tendency to be overlooked for teachable “hard” skills but if you want the right people for your business you need to be putting soft skills first.
So much of the success that you will have in your workplace comes from having employees that have developed soft skills.
Hiring the right people can be hard and hiring the wrong people can be expensive. Here are four techniques that will help develop your employees soft skills:
1. Becoming more self-aware
Self-awareness is a really important soft skill that you and your team must develop. Try to look at yourself from the viewpoint of others. How you see yourself can be very different from how others see you.
Being aware of this difference is important as being both a leader and a contributing member of your team. When trying to make your employees more self-aware, you need to go on the same journey as them.
With each decision you make, try to put yourself in your team members shoes. Ask yourself how they feel, are there any external factors in their lives that could affect the quality of their work or decision they make, how they could have done it differently.
Doing this will help you gain a clearer understanding of how others see you and what they think of your decisions.
2. Teamwork and building trust
When it comes to coaching employees on their soft skills, you need to build trust within the team. Whether it’s trusting that we’ll be honest to each other, that we’ll stick to our commitments, or that we’ll help each other out when a problem arises.
Trust at this level only comes from knowing each other as people — not as colleagues. As a team, you need to get to know each other personally and that means learning about their hobbies, interests, fears and challenges. The better we know the person, the more we trust them. As their leader, you need to build an environment where trust is spread across the team.
The easiest way to build trust is to lead by example. Show your team you trust them by giving them projects which don’t need to be micromanaged. Confide in them what your plans are and be transparent and open about your decisions.
A skilled communicator will get along well with their team, listen and understand instructions and put their opinions across without being aggressive. They can mix with all levels of people and can change their style of communication to suit the task at hand, whether it’s handling conflict, overcoming objections or working alongside a client. Good communicators should be able to develop positive working relationships with their team and be able to learn and improve from constructive criticism.
Once employees have learned more about themselves (strengths, faults, tendencies etc.), it is necessary for them to reflect on what they have learned. Are they humble enough to realise they aren’t perfect? Are they willing to put in the effort to grow even though it may be difficult and uncomfortable? Can they understand their natural tendencies and see how they interact with others?
Soft skills are important for your personal fulfillment, professional development and success.
At The Change Network we offer a variety of Short Courses designed to give you the skills to get ahead and stand out from the crowd. To learn more about our Short Course program get in touch with one of our Senior Consultants today.
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Telephone: 1300 848 060