Mastering soft skills is a must for workplace professionals. Someone with excellent soft skills finds it easy to land a job. They get promoted quickly and are the top-of-mind choice for leadership positions.
It is not uncommon to think that some people have “natural” soft skills. That may be true. But you can make soft skills second nature to you too. Because we can all learn soft skills.
This guide is for managers, supervisors, and professionals seeking career advancement.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills, also known as “people skills,” are a combination of personality traits, behaviors, and social attitudes that characterize our relationships with other people.
Unlike hard skills, which are specific, teachable abilities that can be quantified, soft skills are less tangible and harder to quantify, but they play an equally important role in our personal and professional lives.
Soft skills may include interpersonal skills (pakikipagkapwa-tao), leadership (pamumuno), adaptability (pakikibagay), problem-solving (paglutas) and communication (pakikipagtalastas) to name a few.
They allow us to navigate our environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve our goals with complementing hard skills.
As a workplace consultant, I often meet people with excellent technical skills but look hopeless when it comes to relating with people.
When people neglect the development of soft skills, they risk creating a variety of negative effects in the workplace. Allow me to give you a few examples.
Poor communication skills can lead to misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and workplace conflict.
For example, a manager with poor communication skills may fail to adequately explain the responsibilities of a task, leading to errors, delays, and frustration among team members.
Without good teamwork and collaboration skills, employees may struggle to work effectively in a group setting, potentially leading to a lack of cooperation and overall productivity. A team member who doesn’t value others’ input might dismiss good ideas, leading to suboptimal outcomes.
Without good problem-solving skills, individuals may struggle to identify solutions to issues that arise, causing minor problems to escalate into major ones.
An employee who can’t think critically might miss underlying issues that are causing repeated errors, leading to ongoing inefficiencies.
A lack of leadership skills can lead to a lack of direction, low employee morale, and decreased productivity. For example, a supervisor who lacks empathy might not notice when their employees are overwhelmed, leading to burnout and high turnover rates.
Employees who aren’t adaptable may struggle to keep up with changes in their roles or the company, leading to resistance to change, frustration, and potential job loss.
These examples underscore why it is essential not to overlook the importance of soft skills.
Despite the technical prowess, one may possess in their field, without well-developed soft skills, achieving true success can be a daunting task.