Friendly people are more enjoyable to be around. Especially in the workplace, everyone can count on that individual to lend a helping hand with a team project or provide their feedback on that proposal. On the other hand, we have all experienced how a negative and jaded co-worker or manager impacts the workplace. That person may have 20 years of experience, but no one wants to engage with them, and it changes the overall culture of the workplace. It’s not a good experience for all parties involved.
Hard skills can get you that dream job with the corner office, but your soft skills will keep you there. In addition, having excellent interpersonal skills is vital in establishing meaningful relationships and interactions on and off the job.
Should Interpersonal Skills Be Viewed with The Same Importance as Technical Skills?
That is dependent on the job; of course, qualifications are essential, but that top IT professional who lacks empathy can throw off the entire dynamic on your team if they aren’t open to collaboration and teamwork. This can also cause division and tension in the workplace. An ideal employee will have a good balance of these things such as leadership, decision-making and problem-solving, communication, teamwork, time-management, how they adapt to the work culture, attitude, and dependability. Hiring managers gauge soft skills in the interview process by asking situation-based questions to see how a potential candidate would react if placed in specific scenarios that require them to lean heavily on their soft skills versus their technical qualifications.
What Are Soft Skills?
“Soft Skills” come in various names and are commonly referred to as life skills, people skills, and even interpersonal skills. They are combinations of one’s emotional intelligence quotient, personality, social, communication traits, language skills, personal habits, how they lead, manage and collaborate with others, and how they characterize and cultivate their relationships. Contrary to “Hard skills,” which are technical skills that one may have to attend school to get a degree in or training to obtain a certification to prove their competency, soft skills encompass traits innate to a person. These traits include their outlook on life and things that they can hone over time, like empathy. It’s beneficial to have emotional intelligence in a work environment to reach and connect with individuals and receive information from others. Managers need to have developed soft skills to be effective in leading teams and delegating tasks.
Can You Teach Soft Skills?
The Short answer is no. There is no college course in soft skills. It’s something that the individual has to seek out for themselves either by observation, learning, then further developing that skill set themselves by active practice and incorporation. An individual’s soft skills are set from childhood, so it requires self-realization and effort to build upon them. Helpful resources include coaches, mentors, bosses, managers, and people that have close relationships with those individuals. Constructive, honest feedback helps immensely for individuals trying to strengthen their soft skills. While soft skills aren’t as straightforward to learn as technical skills, their benefits in the workplace and personal relationships are reaped for a lifetime.