When we think of vocational qualifications, we tend to think only of so-called “hard skills” – skills that can be objectively defined and measured.
If you’re a programmer, for example, it can be proven whether or not you know how to create code for a specific end. If you can’t, you don’t possess that hard skill.
Hard skills are what really matter in life, right?
All the technical know-how in the world doesn’t help if people can’t stand to work with you. Alternatively, if you can’t communicate goals, objectives, or plans articulately, you may struggle to accomplish necessary tasks.
And when it comes to working with a team, as most projects almost always do, well…you get the picture.
This is where soft skills come in.
Soft skills are different. They are more subjective and cannot be quantified or measured. Things like leadership, communication, and analytical thinking all have tremendous value in and outside the workplace. The problem is many people overlook this small but significant fact.
A study conducted in 2016 by the Society for Human Resource Management aimed to uncover the skills employers most desired in entry-level applicants. The study showed that hiring managers and human resources professionals tend to place much higher value on soft skills than they do on technical competencies such as math and reading comprehension.
When it comes down to it, being the best at what you do isn’t always enough. If your soft skills haven’t been meeting expectations, there’s a good chance they have been hindering your career.
Areas of Soft Skills Training
Soft skills training is crucial for professionals in all fields. But how do you know where to begin?
The term “soft skills” is very broad. Which soft skills are important, and how do you improve them?
Let’s look at some common soft skills and potential ways to improve them.
Possessing the confidence and vision needed to define and accomplish goals allows you the ability to influence your coworkers and have them support your ideas. In addition, displays of leadership can increase your visibility in an organization, leading to additional opportunities later on.
Managers always want employees who can lead. Leaders are needed to take the organization in the right direction and eventually assume upper management roles when current leaders resign or retire.
Leadership isn’t just about control or persuasion. It involves inspiring others into action and helping them perform at their best.
A good way to increase your leadership potential is to become the internship supervisor at your place of work. This can serve as a valuable form of soft skills training. You will learn to motivate teams, manage people, and take on additional responsibilities.
Being able to communicate effectively via the spoken and written word influences others to perceive you in a positive light. It also assists you in developing relationships with your colleagues.
This soft skill can increase your efficiency by establishing clear expectations with management, allowing you to deliver exactly what they want each time. This is one of the key reasons that employers find it valuable – it allows workers to get things done the right way on the first take.
The ability to articulate the details of a project ensures that it will be completed correctly without the need for revisions, saving time, and reducing the need for constant supervision.
Life is unpredictable. Rather than freezing up in anxiety or fuming with frustration, effective employees can approach changing circumstances from new perspectives. If you can be flexible when unexpected problems come into the mix, you will excel at anything you do.
Things change so rapidly in our world today. The workplace is no exception. As a result, workers who easily adapt to shifts in their industry can stay relevant and keep a company on its feet.
One way to increase your adaptability is to seek out new training opportunities. Acquiring new skills, learning why they’re important, and teaching these things to coworkers can help to make sure you’re always evolving to meet the changing needs of your environment.
The Value of Soft Skills Training
In summary, soft skills training is in high demand. Soft skills are the unspoken savior of the common employee. If you have ever wondered why some people thrive in the workplace despite having less-than-stellar hard skills, now you know. Soft skills tend to be more highly valued than hard skills.
Soft skills training should be mandatory for all employees. Unfortunately, we are mostly left to our own devices when it comes to developing these skills.
The solution involves putting yourself in situations that will lead you to practice and improve various soft skills. Seeking out such opportunities will go a long way toward helping advance your career and making you a valuable asset to your company.