6 soft skills that are crucial for your career development
This post will round up the valuable soft skills that are crucial to healthy career development.
Hard skills are gained through training, education, and workplace experience. But your employability depends largely on how well you can apply these hard skills in a team environment. That’s where high-quality soft skills will give you the edge.
From adaptability to critical thinking to being a good communicator and having a “can do” attitude, this post will round up the valuable soft skills that are crucial to healthy career development.
Adaptability reflects how quickly you respond to change and how easily you can master new skills.
Start with a ‘can-do’ attitude
Don’t get too bogged down in routine. Just because “we’ve always done it this way” doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way. Workplaces are constantly evolving, whether that be with the introduction of new technologies or simply finding more productive ways to work.
Don’t wait for change to come to you
Keep up with developments in your field by following your industry leaders on social media and looking up relevant stories using Google’s ‘News’ search feature.
If you don’t present yourself as ready and willing to step outside your comfort zone, how will others know that you’re hungry for promotion?
An experienced communicator can express ideas clearly and engage productively with others. But they can also listen well, understand instructions, and carry out them out accurately.
Leaders need communication skills to:
- Build a rapport with new connections
- Nurture long-term relationships
- Explain complex issues
- Delegate clearly
- Utilise feedback
- Deal with a variety of personalities
Tailoring your approach to suit different people will demonstrate that you are sensitive to others and don’t expect everyone to conform to your ideals. You can do this by adjusting the tone and style of your communication depending on the audience.
3. Critical thinking
Critical thinking relies on your ability to pull on past experience, gather information, and ask relevant questions to form a judgement.
The goal is to find the best objective solution to a problem, rather than the one that aligns with your preconceptions or personal biases.
You will need to:
- Consider all evidence
- Assess alternative points of view
- Keep an open mind
- Allow results to alter your approach
Within the practice of critical thinking, you will refine your research skills, learn how to process data, and be able to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information. This will help you to become a more strategic and open-minded employee who is highly adaptable and an efficient decision-maker.
4. Time management
Employers who took part in the UK Employer Skills Survey 2015 rated time management as the most difficult soft skill to find among candidates.
Your ability to manage your own time involves being realistic about your capabilities and prioritising your workload to ensure that you are consistently meeting deadlines.
Leaders must be able to manage their own time as well as the time of others. They need to consider individual workflows when delegating tasks and prioritise them in accordance with the company’s wider goals.
Taking full responsibility for your actions will go a long way to earn the trust and respect of your colleagues. When things don’t go to plan, be clear about the part you played and accept the consequences so that you can learn from the experience.
If you can’t meet a deadline, communicate with your team. Never blame your poor productivity on a lack of resources—get creative with what you have and you’ll definitely impress when you get the job done.
Be clear about what is expected of you and other people. Don’t be afraid to go back to your manager and ask for clarification—or to hold your colleagues accountable for their commitments as well.
Negotiation is arguably one of the most useful soft skills you’ll develop. But it’s actually a complex combination of other valuable soft skills:
- Time management: Prepare in advance to ensure a thorough understanding of the subject matter
- Critical thinking: Evaluate alternative viewpoints
- Communication: Persuade others by explaining your argument clearly
- Active listening: Show that you have considered opposing points and return a relevant counter argument
- Accountability: Accept criticism and know where you are prepared to compromise
- Emotional intelligence: Keep a level head and know when to ask for more
Whether you have to close an important deal, resolve a conflict at work, or negotiate your next promotion—being able to negotiate demonstrates that you have the initiative and drive to succeed.
Lacking soft skills can hold you back from achieving your professional goals. Work on these six soft skills and you’ll find it easier to progress in your career.
To find out more about careers at GM&T please visit our Careers homepage.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third-party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Marketing & Trading. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Marketing & Trading accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.