Soft skills are the personal qualities that help you thrive in life and in the workplace. They are the behavioral and interpersonal skills that relate to how effectively you interact with others and handle everyday life and specific situations.
Soft skills consist of a combination of people, social, and communication skills, character traits, attitudes, and mindsets, as well as social and emotional characteristics.
Examples of soft skills include the ability to communicate with others, set goals, plan and take action, take decisions, solve problems, and get things completed on time.
These are quite different from hard skills, which refer to the specific knowledge and abilities that you need to perform your job effectively or to complete a task. Hard skills are measurable skills acquired through training, education, and practice.
Examples of hard skills include technical, computer, project management, and analytical skills. If you are being more specific, computer skills may include areas such as SAP and machine learning.
Soft skills, such as communication, are used in all relationships, whether these be with your friends, your partner, your children, contractors doing work on your house, or your colleagues at work.
Soft skills are used every day at work and in life and developing these soft skills will help you in many areas including being part of a team, handling change and unexpected events, and delivering projects effectively and on time.
Soft skills will also help you meet your work targets, gain promotions, and in leading and managing others.
On the other hand, a lack of soft skills can limit your potential, or even be the downfall of your career.
Soft skills also benefit businesses overall, when they are practiced on a company-wide basis, for example, efficiency and output will improve when workers collaborate by sharing knowledge and tools to get jobs done, trust develops through positive interactions and relationships, and productivity increases in environments where soft skills flourish.
Although not customarily acquired through formal training, soft skills can be learned. To improve soft skills, you must be open to learning and motivated to change how you act and behave. Training can provide tips and strategies for developing better practices, such as active listening and empathizing with others.
The specific learning approaches that can help in acquiring or improving soft skills include coaching and mentoring, listening to feedback on your key areas for improvement, modeling others who have strong soft skills, practicing new techniques in real-life situations, and studying online or during in-person courses.
If you want to explore soft skills further, you can take our soft skills online course on MMC ‘Soft Skills for Life & Work’, which covers the essential soft skills. This course will help you understand the essential soft skills, assess your current level of soft skills, learn strategies for improvement and develop an action plan to take your learning into real life.
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