15 years ago, all my friends and most of my relatives called me on my birthday; now the love comes digitally via Facebook or WhatsApp. The Internet and mobile technology have changed how humans interact forever! Chats, emojis, and texts now form a bulk of our daily engagement.
However, even in this digital age, social or soft skills are key to doing well professionally and personally – millennials might not agree but trust us its true. Sending emails just cannot replace face-to-face interactions.
In fact, with so much digital technology, artificial intelligence and automation entering the workforce, soft skills have acquired new importance as a crucial differentiator at work. According to a study by Accenture, 95% of people believe they need new skills to stay relevant, and some of the new skills employees are investing in learning are soft skills such as adaptability and decision-making.
Let us illustrate the importance of social skills with some common work situations.
Situation 1: Managing large teams and delivering on tight deadlines
I am sure all of us have been at the receiving end of a seemingly impossible deadline, but somehow (through a series of mini meltdowns) pulled it off!
This is mostly made possible by the boss; someone who can take decisive and quick decisions, keep everyone motivated and positive and has the ability to think outside the box – these are soft skills that come with time and experience, but without which large teams would cease to function altogether.
Situation 2: Winning big deals
Three competing proposals are on the table; all have great deals and the names of reputable organisations on them. In this scenario, the person choosing the winning proposal is almost always influenced by the person presenting.
Great communication skills backed by confidence and a touch of personal rapport is what will win you the deal. People are willing to live with a bit less in order to work with someone they trust; you just have to develop a relationship that inspires them to take a chance on you.
Situation 3: Leading a Company/Department
A lot has been said about developing leadership skills. But what exactly are they? Empathy, communication, creativity, positivity, and ethics are just some of the basic soft skills leaders possess and practice to get to the top and stay there.
Just think of your favourite boss; what did you like about him/her? I am sure it wasn’t his/her engineering skills or presentation making skills! Employees follow leaders who invest in understanding them and ensuring their growth.
Situation 4: Conflict Management
If you put three people in a room, then over time there is bound to be some clashes! In fact, for most team leaders getting diverse people and attitudes to work together is the biggest challenge at work.
You can’t take sides, and you can’t leave conflicts unresolved; what’s needed is the empathetic, fair and transparent handling of people and egos.
Situation 5: Personal Growth
Careers are lifelong undertakings; you need to ensure that you are not just marking time and passing years stuck in a rut. Continuous professional progress comes with a mindset that is growth oriented.
So you had a bad appraisal, took years out to take care of your kids or lost money on a bad investment – a growth mindset will ensure you get up, dust yourself and fix what’s wrong. You don’t stay down when you hit a roadblock; you find a way out to carry on walking down your path.
Your hard skills will land you a job, but your soft skills will turn it into your dream job! There is no doubt that soft skills are the secret sauce of any successful career.
So, are you wondering if you have the required social skills to progress at work? Here is a list of essential soft skills you need to develop and polish to grow at work –
- Positive attitude
- Openness to critical feedback
- Working under pressure
- Team player attitude
- Empathy and active listening
The questions we hear most often – Can soft skills really be learnt? I am not a people person, is there hope for me?
The answer is YES!
We all have our own unique mindsets and personalities, but underneath it all, we have the foundation of similar human feelings. At SoaringEagles, we believe that the first step to developing great soft skills is to be completely self-aware.
Want to know more – Call us on +91 8080809115