Why and How to Develop Soft Skills?

Develop Soft Skills

The modern world dictates its own rules. To be a high-class professional, it is no longer enough to have a specialized education or even work experience in your field.

Many employers quite rightly believe that the future belongs to soft skills. There is a popular joke among HR managers that people are hired for hard skills and dismissed for soft skills (or lack of them).

Improving their flexible skills is necessary not only for those who want to find a great job but also for those who want to improve the quality of their lives. How it can be done, essay writer service will tell you below.


Why do you need to develop soft skills?

Why

According to a survey, 93 percent of the employers surveyed said that a candidate's soft skills are an important factor in deciding their employment. Different companies also note the importance of the well-developed soft skills of a potential employee and often begin to test them at the interview.

Well-developed soft skills help a person be effective in all spheres of life. We need negotiation skills not only for communication with clients or partners but also, for example, for marking our limits in everyday life.

The skill of conflict resolution helps to overcome problematic situations with management and solve them properly with loved ones. High emotional intelligence allows you to control your emotions during serious conversations with colleagues and when dealing with everyday issues.

Time management and planning skills help effectively distribute priorities in work tasks and solve household issues effectively. The ability to effectively set goals promotes both career advancement and quality of life in general.

There are a huge number of useful skills. In order not to get confused in their variety, we offer the following classification:

  • Basic communication skills necessary to maintain relationships with people (presentation, conflict resolution, negotiation, etc.)
  • Self-management skills are necessary for controlling one's state, work, affairs, and time (time management, planning and goal setting, emotional intelligence).
  • Effective thinking skills are necessary to manage the processes in the head, which, in turn, help make life and work more systematic (critical, systemic, strategic, structural thinking).
  • Management skills are needed when one begins to manage other people or processes (change management, delegating, coaching, controlling, tasking, leading, providing feedback).

Of course, the more skills a person has, the more productive he or she is. However, it is important to understand what skills need to be developed in the first place to achieve maximum efficiency. So, this case is strictly individual, but the principles of soft skills development are almost universal.


How to develop soft skills

Any skill can be developed. How long it takes will depend on the complexity of the skill, the regularity of training, and the initial data of the person himself.

It is worth noting that soft mastering skills almost always take a long time. While some professional skills can be acquired in a day (for example, mastering a simple computer program), it takes several weeks to months to acquire and consolidate a flexible skill. The reason is that soft skills are directly related to our mindset, lifestyle, and habits, which take time to change.

So before you start developing the necessary soft skills, make an individual development plan in which you identify three key points:

  • The area in which you need to develop;
  • What exactly do you need to develop (quality, skill);
  • How you will develop it (resources, tools).

Listen to how you feel to determine which soft skills you should focus on. What activities cause you the most difficulties? Which ones do you spend the most time on? Why?

If you plan to develop flexible skills because your professional field requires it, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is particularly valued in your profession/professional community?
  • How often does change occur in your industry?
  • What are the characteristics of your profession?
  • What professional goals do you set for yourself?

Based on the answers to these questions, you will be able to determine the main directions of your development. But there is another way to identify the soft skills that need to be developed – to conduct an internal audit of your strengths and weaknesses.

And already after you have made a list of important skills for development, select from them 1-2 of the highest priorities. (Even the most experienced juggler can hardly cope with five or more subjects. If you tackle everything at once, you run the risk of failing to do anything and get demotivation and emotional burnout.) Next, get down to business.

We have prepared a few tips that will help make the process of soft skills development as effective as possible:


Move from small to large.

For example, to master the skill of public speaking, do not immediately set the goal to speak in front of an audience of 100 people. Start with a mini-performance in front of your colleagues, consolidate the result and courageously move on.

The same should do with complex tasks: divide them into several smaller steps and gradually move up the plan.


Set specific goals.

The clearer the goal in front of you, the more likely you'll achieve it. Avoid vague statements like “I want to be creative. Set clear goals through a variety of techniques for setting goals.


Have patience.

Forgive the illusion that reading a book or attending a single training session is enough to develop soft skills. Nothing will work without hours of practice.

As we noted earlier, soft skills are harder to implement than hard skills because they are directly linked to our way of thinking and ingrained beliefs.


Practice regularly.

Nothing comes without practice. You can read hundreds of books on how to negotiate correctly, but that knowledge is worthless until you put it into practice regularly.

In “Geniuses and Outsiders. Why Some Get Everything, and Others Get Nothing?” Malcolm Gladwell gives examples of people who became professionals not because of their talent but solely with the help of hours of training.

In his opinion, to hone any skill to perfection, you need to spend 10,000 hours practicing it.


Reflect and take stock

You won't know where you're going if you don't measure your intermediate results. Evaluate your results and ask yourself if you are happy with your changes.


Be curious.

Be curious

Explore, inquire, research, read, and discover new facts and acquaintances. The broader your horizons, the faster your consciousness will begin to change.


Draw knowledge from all sources

To learn the presentation skill, you don't have to go to training sessions exclusively on public speaking. You can transfer this experience by going to leadership training, for example. Focus on the skill you want to develop, and look for opportunities to find information.


Look for a mentor

Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from those who have already invented it? Find a mentor who is fluent in the skill you need (e.g., the art of time management) and start learning from him or her.

It can be a person from your immediate environment (a manager, colleague, close friend, relative) or any famous person who has managed to develop the qualities and skills you need.

Great if you can communicate with him in real life or on the Internet. If this is not possible, observe him, read his biography, watch interviews and learn from his experience.


Create the right environment

The fastest and most effective way to speak a foreign language is to surround yourself exclusively with native speakers. The same method applies to soft skills. For example, you need to communicate with other people as often as possible to sharpen your communication skills.

If your work does not involve constant communication, you want to develop the skill to communicate, join conversation clubs in your city. Or take part in negotiation duels. The right environment promotes fast learning and builds the necessary habits.


Increase the difficulty.

It's impossible to develop new skills by doing the same tasks. Gradually and regularly increase the level of difficulty of the tasks to learn new soft skills. Without stepping out of your comfort zone, you cannot grow.


Ask for feedback

Ask for feedback

It is good if you are not alone in your soft-skills development journey. Ask your colleagues, friends, supervisors, or mentors for support in the form of advice, sharing experiences, and constructive feedback.

We've provided some tips to help make learning new skills more effective. Try, experiment, share experiences with like-minded people, and choose the ways that work best for you.


Conclusion

Developing soft skills is a complex process that will undoubtedly pay dividends in increased efficiency and productivity in the future.

Unlike hard skills, soft skills are difficult to assess objectively, but that does not mean that you cannot understand whether you have grown or not.

Set clear goals, measure milestones, and summarize specific results to inspire further growth.

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