Soft skills are an essential part of todays business world and help your organisation use a person’s skills to their full potential. They go hand in hand with the hard skills that you may learn ‘on the job’, such as typing, or operating machinery.
When your workforce has lots of technical skills but an absence of soft skills, you create what is known as a soft skills gap. Some examples of soft skills gaps are:
- You're really good at securing new business, but struggle to retain clients
- You have high staff turnover and need to keep hiring and re-training people
- You have lots of managers but no real leaders
Workplaces have evolved in recent years - the act of listening, presenting ideas, resolving conflict, and creating an open and honest work environment all come down to knowing how to build and maintain relationships with people. It's those relationships that allow people to participate fully in team projects, show appreciation for others, and enlist support for their projects.
It's important to recognise the vital role soft skills play within teams, and not only work on developing them within yourself, but encourage their development throughout your organisation. Soft skills have enormous benefits for both managers and employees, and can improve productivity and team relations.
Five of the top soft skills that are important in an ever changing business environment are:
- Personal accountability
- Being adaptable and flexible
- Creative thinking –think and act outside of the box
- Coaching and mentoring
- Conflict resolution
The more of these things you see around you day-to-day, the better people's soft skills are likely to be within your organisation.
All of these have a significant impact on the attitude a person brings to interactions with clients, customers, colleagues, supervisors, and other stakeholders.
The more positive someone's attitude, the better that person's relationships will be. That's what creates a great team performance and leads people to contributing more strongly to the organisation's vision.
For more information on how to close soft skills gaps in your organisation, and to discover how the increasing demand of soft skills might impact you, download our whitepaper Preparing for the rise of the soft skill.
Jane Hulme, Team Leader, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs I’ll talk through my thoughts on team leading and management.
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