Soft skills are a quality of professional profiles that are increasingly taken into account.
However, it is still relatively common for people who have worked in the same field for years to be unaware of this concept, which is why they are at a competitive disadvantage both as candidates for better job prospects and as as team leaders.
In this article we will explore this concept of “general skills” and see some of the most important habits to improve them..
What are soft skills?
General skills are the set of personal skills that have a significant impact on the work context, although they cannot be reduced to technical knowledge or the motor execution of certain specific movements related to the work to be performed. , and they are very useful in a wide variety of professional roles.
In other words, these are the personal skills which, although not reflected in the curriculum, are as important or more important than formal education and technical learning that a person received for aspiring to certain jobs.
Thus, soft skills are predispositions and capacities of an eminently psychological nature, that is to say linked to the management of emotions, thoughts and personal relationships, and do not depend on the memorization of certain theoretical contents or the motor strength or coordination that a person has. . This is why it is often said that the scope of these “soft skills” goes far beyond work, because they are useful both in professional and private contexts, and if a person is able to apply them, they can. do the same. in the other.
At the same time, due to its dynamic, flexible nature and not dependent on memorizable content, it is very difficult for companies to develop tools for the systematic assessment of soft skills; This is why the most common method used to study the presence or absence of candidates for a job or a promotion, for example, is personalized assessment by professionals with experience in HR and / or the department of the corresponding organization.
Of course, for this kind of evaluation process to be effective, you must first have a notion of what soft skills are and what are the most relevant in a given context, because unfortunately, otherwise the temptation to not consider that the “Targets” and easily quantifiable criteria will be the default option.
Habits for improving soft skills applied at work
Although soft skills do not arise from formal education (eg, university courses), this does not mean that they cannot be learned and internalized. The only thing that happens is that in this case the learning process will be more adapted to the lifestyle and the way of being of the person, because it is not reduced to lecture notes and exercises to do with a computer.
From soft skills they emerge in real contexts of work and social interaction associated with everyday life, the way to train them is also based on going through certain situations that have to do with everyday problems that you have to learn to solve: in this case, theory and practice merge and you have to learn to master them at the same time. time. This can be encouraged through business initiatives such as social skills training programs, classes and workshops, and more. But this is not the only way: we can also begin, as an individual, to fill our daily life with situations that “force” in us this learning and this reinforcement of soft skills.
Therefore, we will focus on this second path and do a brief review of the habits that can help you improve your relationship skills.
1. Adopt a role of arbiter in the discussions
Many people find it difficult not to lose their role in discussions, which has a negative impact on both work and private life. To avoid this, it is important to approach conflicts from the perspective of a character or “actor” whose job is to recognize the reason for both parties’ discomfort and seek common ground from a perspective relatively distant. Let’s see it all. In this way, the goal will not be to win or to see how our side beats the other, but overcoming a crisis affecting a group of people.
2. Write every day
It sounds like a lie, but many communication problems can be corrected by learning how to write well. The habit of writing sentences and paragraphs of relative complexity helps us better structure ideas and proposals in our minds, so that not only do we get much better at writing emails and documents ( which is in itself essential in many jobs) but also speak comprehensibly and persuasively.
3. Delegate and give instructions regularly
You don’t have to assume that the more tasks and responsibilities you carry on your shoulders, the better the job will be. Often we lose the ability to add value to our professional profile by simply not being able to delegate and train others in explaining the theory and practice of what they need to do.
To improve yourself, delegate tasks in your daily life and make sure the other person has all the information they need to perform those tasks in much the same way you would. It will force you not to take it for granted that everyone knows what you know, which is basic to leading and organizing teams..
4. Divide all your goals into sub-goals
This seemingly simple principle is crucial to performing well and can be applied to virtually any responsibility you encounter in your day-to-day life. This will not only help you to be clear at all times about what to do; Outraged, help you prioritize tasks, which is necessary to have a problem-solving perspective (you will avoid falling into the usual dynamic of focusing only on abstract ideas and disconnected from what is really necessary).
5. Ask beyond your target role
Gaining adaptability requires looking beyond the objective goals attached to our workplace – it is important to understand the why of what is happening in the organisation. Take advantage of the potential of your curiosity: ask questions of those who know. This will allow you to better anticipate the needs of your team, company or department.
6. Prepare your workspace
Something as simple as preparing our office to eliminate possible distractions will make us make better use of the time we have to work and, on the other hand, have more resources and energy to know what is happening around us.
7. Make sure you’re in constant communication with your computer
It is becoming more and more common to mix teamwork with individual work, thanks to new chat platforms, video calls, etc. Therefore, it is essential that you always have the habit of activating these communication channels and checking them regularly. These types of routines will open you up much more to work beyond your individuality.
Do you want to know more about soft skills?
If you want to know more about soft skills and their implications for the world of work, either to value them in yourself or to integrate them into your work by leading teams, the European School of Coaching Executive Coaching Certification Program it’s for you. Lasting 229 hours, this training is aimed more specifically at managers, middle management psychologists, HR professionals and coaches. Plus, it can be done online and in person in Madrid and Barcelona. To find out more, contact we.
- Laker, Dominican Republic; Powell, JL (2011). Differences between hard and soft skills and their relative impact on training transfer. Quarterly development of human resources. 22: pages 111-122.
- Zhang, Aimao (2012). “Peer Assessment of White Skills and Technical Skills.” Journal of Information Technology Education: Research. 11: 155–168.