To help you understand and learn about soft skill competencies, we are going to focus only on skills that can be utilized to ensure your career growth and stability. You will probably be overwhelmed by the fact that there are several kinds of soft skills. Work-related soft skills alone reach up to 60 different kinds. Now that is a big number. There are important two types: personal attributes and interpersonal skills. Below are some examples and explanations of each.
Social or personal skills that a person possesses are what are referred to as personal attributes. These include, but are not limited to, honesty and integrity, positive outlook, sense of humor, reliability and accountability, and the ability to handle pressure.
Honesty and integrity would mean having high professional and moral standards which can be observed by maintaining fairness and truthfulness all the time. It is about doing the right thing even when nobody is watching. Positive outlook would pertain to an individual’s ability to always look at the “sunny” side in every difficulty, and showing enthusiasm to cheer others.
Sense of humor would be the ability to see the funny side of things, to laugh at your own mistakes. It also means the knack to make others laugh, to inject humor when working with others. Reliability and accountability is one’s capacity to take ownership and to do what you have been tasked to do.
It is about keeping promises and ensuring that you get things done if you have agreed to do so. Lastly, the ability to handle pressure would mean being able to deal with day to day stress effectively, keeping organized, and managing time productively.
The skills we make use of when we deal with other people are what are referred to as interpersonal skills. Soft skills belonging to this group are: empathy, communication, leadership, and teamwork, just to name a few.
Empathy is an individual’s ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes; to vicariously experience what the other person is feeling. Communication is our ability to get the message across, as well as to understand what the other person is saying.
Leadership is the ability to stand up and make things happen; to lead a group of people in improving their job performance, and inspire them to continuously do so. Teamwork, on the other hand, is your ability to work with a team and get along with others. This helps promote dynamism and motivates everyone in your team to get moving and finish their tasks.
General Do’s and Don’ts
While there are many soft skills, they follow the same fundamentals. Here are some of the basic do’s and don’ts that will help you learn these types of skills.
First, you should be open-minded. This means that you need to be open to new ideas and constructive criticism. Next, always listen with your ears, eyes, and heart, which mean that you should practice empathetic listening no matter who you speak with, for you to be able to understand better what other people are trying to say. Then, you should be observant of verbal and nonverbal cues and respond appropriately. Body language can say a lot, and having the ability to read it is very important.
Now, for those you need to avoid, one of them is making assumptions. While sometimes we could be right, it is just as likely that even our best guesses could be wrong. Never give unsolicited advice, because as you may have heard many times, these kinds of advice go on deaf ears and are therefore just a waste of time and effort.
Also, avoid distractions because these will only hinder you from keeping your focus; when you get distracted or sidetracked, you miss out on key points, and as you are probably aware, these are just a waste of precious time.
Knowing the different types of soft skills will give you a better understanding of what they are and how valuable they are to us. This is also one step to help you learn and develop these skill sets, which are instrumental to your professional achievements.