We’ve written about soft skills here before. However, it’s a big topic with a lot of applications and a lot of interesting cupboards to peer into.
Hard skills? Soft skills? Which are more important to employers? We’ll unpack all that in a minute, because getting a handle on those skills will give you an edge in 2019.
What’s the Difference Between Hard Skills and Soft Skills?
They say that common sense is none too common. A similar irony applies to soft skills in that they can be pretty hard to do!
Hard skills are measurable and can be learned. For example:
- technical and foreign language skills
On the other hand, soft skills are more about not so measurable qualities such as listening and leadership skills.
According to MarketWatch.com, 57 percent of those in leadership roles said they valued “personal, social, and communications skills” over technical expertise.
Here are the five soft skills that made MarketWatch’s list:
- time management
We’ve included our own perspectives for why each of these traits is important, and added a few more.
Each Soft Skill Trait One By One
Creativity – The more creative you are, the more often you get things done better, faster, cheaper and easier. All these things equate to healthier organizations. Creative people are more likely to work their way around logjams when their not so inventive counterparts are spinning their wheels. Creative employees bring solutions and alternatives to the table and ultimately, that means better companies.
Persuasion – As with creativity, persuasion is about getting things done. Persuasive employees tend to be good team-players and strong leaders – as long as they’re persuading and not pushing. Being persuasive in a positive way includes empathy for others and looking for the best solution overall, not just the best solution for ourselves. It means factoring in what’s good for the company and what’s good for the team when striving for answers.
Collaboration – In today’s workplace, collaboration is encouraged as a means of engaging staff. Engaged staff are happier overall, and happy workers tend to stick around. This dynamic drives employee retention and saves companies money even as it helps them run more smoothly.
Adaptability – Being adaptable is a lot like being creative. Adaptable workers find ways of getting things done in the face of change, and organizations must deal with change in order to remain competitive. Having an adaptable workforce is like having a staff of quick-change artists who can switch gears at the drop of a hat. Adaptable people think on their feet and eliminate unnecessary downtime caused by trying to adjust instead of just doing it.
Time management – This one is pretty self-evident. Time is money, so time management is money management. If employees have time management skills, the workplace runs more smoothly. People are less stressed and drains on time and money are at least mitigated if not eliminated.
So, what else?
Of course, those aren’t the only soft skills employers value. A few more to cultivate include:
- written and verbal communication skills
- conflict management
- critical thinking
So there you have it – or a lot of it, anyway. There are always more “soft” skills to master, each one of which can make you more valuable to your employer and more appreciated by your coworkers, and that adds up to a better future for you.
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