people using soft skills at work As technology increases, our ability to use soft skills in interactions with other people becomes even more essential. Soft skills include: communication, integrity, decision-making, leadership, and conflict resolution.

While technical skills are a prerequisite to SAP jobs, employers are also looking for candidates who understand and utilize soft skills. As you look to advance your SAP career, whether in the same position, through a promotion, or with a new company, your ability to demonstrate soft skills is key.

Knowing if you have the needed soft skills for a role is often challenging since soft skills are not as easy to quantify as technical skills. However, they are becoming equally important for SAP employers, and therefore, should be something that all professionals pay attention to.

The best thing about soft skills? They can be learned! Having a growth mindset and learning orientation will allow you to naturally improve your professional soft skills. Below are the top five soft skills for a successful career in SAP.

 

Skill 1. Conflict Resolution

Whether we like it or not, conflict is a natural part of being human. And while conflict is not always easy or pleasant, it should be embraced in the workplace because it means there are a diversity of perspectives represented.

Handling conflict with tact has the potential to set yourself apart in a professional setting.  As you approach conflicts in both a personal and a professional environment, there are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • truly understand the perception of affected individuals;
     
  • recognize that multiple perspectives are valid,
     
  • agree on the least common agreement point that is still acceptable to all parties; and,
     
  • follow-up to make sure that the conflict has been solved with agreed-upon outcomes.

 

Skill 2. Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving

In the midst of the busy workday, it can be hard to prioritize creative thinking and problem solving. However, having a creative mindset for problem solving is an indispensable skill for today’s fast-paced world.

It’s important to keep in mind that there is ALWAYS more than one solution to a problem.

If you are struggling with a problem, take a step back and encourage yourself to look at the problem in a new light. Follow the suggested tips to get started on your creative thinking:

  • No Limitations. When you are trying to solve a problem or create a new process, it can be easy to immediately come up with all the roadblocks you will encounter. Creative problem solving is facilitated with an open mind and healthy collaboration.
     
  • Multiple Perspectives. Taking the time to think creatively means that there is time to get stakeholder perspectives and understand how others would approach the problem at hand.
     
  • Make an Appointment. Many times, the things that need to be done are the only appointments in our calendar. If you schedule reflective time in your calendar, you have prioritized the time needed to think deeply.
     
  • Take a break! Sometimes all you need is a breath of fresh air to gain a new perspective on a topic. Take a walk, read a book, meditate, grab something to eat. Just do something to help your brain rewire.

 

Skill 3. Change Management

Change is a constant in all workplaces. Technology is rapidly evolving, and new innovative levels are reached every day.

Change can be overwhelming for many people and is especially heightened in the workplace. Change is often interpreted in a negative light; for example, one may not agree with the decision and take it personally, or perhaps it will cause anxiety about the chance of someone losing their job.

Being skilled in change management is essential for a technical career. Having a systematic perspective on implementing and managing change will set you apart from other colleagues or potential candidates.

There are countless theories and approaches to change management, and you need to find the approach that works with you. Ideally, select a change management strategy that jives with your work culture and attempt to use it the next time that a major change has happened.

For example, your company may be focused on lean methodology, or it may be committed to a more authoritative work environment. Always remember to read the personality type and ‘mood’ of your work environment before outlining a plan.

When gaining skills in change management, always build on your previous experience. It’s nearly impossible to make everyone happy, but learning from your past shortcomings and working towards a respectful work environment will set you up for success in any type of change or transition.

 

Skill 4. Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are essential for a healthy workplace. A truly diverse workplace means that there will be myriad different cultures and intersections of identities. You need to balance diversity while ensuring that equity and inclusion are also present. When we break down diversity and inclusion a little more, there are a few skills that standout:

  • Global Approach. Our world is interconnected and thinking globally in business is necessary. Being mindful of the complexity this introduces and accounting for it is a critical skill.
     
  • Holistic Human Values. It is normal for all of us to have different perspectives, beliefs, priorities, and understandings. What is important is that in times of disagreement or negotiation, the person never feels like they are being personally attacked. By valuing the fact that we are all human, we can come from a place of empathy and understanding. 
     
  • Culturally Aware.SAP is only one piece of workplace culture. We all come from a combination of cultures. These cultures heavily influence the way we live and how we think we should act. In the workplace, it is important to respect everyone’s culture and carry this respect through all decisions that are made.

 

Skill 5. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence boils down to our ability to relate to other people and have empathy for their situation. Practicing emotional intelligence in the workplace is vital because it means that you are self-aware of your presence and how it affects other people. Individuals who practice emotional intelligence are able to tactfully read situations and know how best to react.

Emotions run high in the workplace, especially in times of stress, so it’s important to constantly check in with ourselves and understand our own limits of emotional intelligence. These are the three pillars of emotional intelligence:

  • Empathy. The ability to understand how someone feels or respecting how they feel is critical to being liked and respected. We all react differently to things and situations and you need to respect how other people feel.
     
  • Self-Awareness. In all social settings, your actions and attitude change the situation. Being aware of how you are changing a situation is important because you have the potential to either improve it or make it worse.
     
  • Situational Awareness. The recognition that your behavior needs to change in response to specific situations is a learned skill. Sometimes humor is important while at other times it is important to be serious. Knowing the best approach to each situation is a key part of emotional intelligence.

 

An Ongoing Journey 

Soft skills are here to stay. Their importance has only increased in importance as the expectations of workplaces evolve.

Soft skills are often the intangible qualities that help you stand out in a competitive SAP marketplace. Not only is it important to have soft skills,but you also need to be able to articulate how you possess these skills. But remember, you always have room to grow!

Embrace soft skills as a process, and you will have a very competitive edge in your SAP career


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Claire Albaum is the Course Coordinator for Michael Management. She recruits new SAP instructors in addition to fostering relationships and working with existing MMC instructors. She has years of experience in recruiting and project management within the field of education. Claire is passionate about connecting people with opportunities and facilitating learning initiatives.