How soft skills can help you succeed at work

Learn how to stand out at work and have a lasting impact
Your soft skills will help present yourself in a positive way to others and allow them to build their confidence in you.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to succeed at work purely on professional and practical skills alone, and it’s imperative nowadays to have soft skills that enhance your impact in the workplace. This is specifically what the Human Capacity Development Program (2021-2025) is working on within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030.

Created for Saudi citizens, this particular program seeks to develop capabilities that will enable Saudis to compete globally, through the promotion of values, the development of basic and future skills, and knowledge development. The program focuses on preparing the youth for the future local and global labor market, enhancing their work ethic, developing their skills by providing lifelong learning opportunities, and supporting a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

If you’re about to enter a job interview or start a new job, you should examine your soft skills carefully, as they are no less important than the professional skills that you possess. Your soft skills will help present yourself in a positive way to others by allowing them to build their confidence in you. If you feel that you have soft skills but are unsure how to develop them, this article will be a helpful guide.

What are soft and hard skills?

These are the skills through which you primarily communicate with others. You often grow these skills through life experiences and they can’t be measured quantitatively, because they focus more on your social and leadership capabilities. For clarity, these skills fall into the following categories: communication and negotiation skills,  empathy and relational skills, leadership and management skills, and the ability to adapt and learn. On the polar opposite side, hard skills are the skills that are measurable and required to do a particular job or profession, and are acquired through study, work, learning, and training.

Can you improve your soft skills?

We mentioned a while ago that soft skills accumulate through life experiences, but this doesn’t mean that we aren’t able to build and develop them. Here are some steps to help you enhance them:

-        Welcome any comments and feedback with ease.  

-        Enhance social connections to build positive relationships.

-        Support teamwork and adapt to change.

-        Have an active mindset and always be ready to learn.

-        Benefit from the experiences and work of others.

-        Don't be afraid to take on challenges, face them calmly and take a leadership role in them.

Why are soft skills important in the workplace?

Soft skills are useful on a personal level while working in an organization or company, and these benefits include: increased team engagement, improvement in team morale, instilling confidence and positivity in the work environment, as well as benefiting from the skills and experiences of others.

Positivity and leadership are among the most important soft skills

Business owners are always looking for positive, friendly, and energetic people to work in leadership roles, especially if the work includes some tension or stress. Let's look at leadership-related skills that an employer might look for and ask about in an interview: conflict resolution skills, the ability to make deals and decision-making skills, facilitating workflow and giving clear feedback, inspiring people in the leadership role, the ability to manage challenging conversations and managing hybrid work teams, regularly holding and managing meetings, directing the team towards solutions, being able to deliver successful training to those who need it, and supervising and managing new talent.

Is it possible to develop the soft skills of employees?

Trying to develop the soft skills of employees and making sure that they can achieve success is certainly a difficult task, but it goes through stages, and it can be successful by:  

1) Evaluating employees according to flexible criteria. This is often a challenge, but HR personnel can be of assistance or another option would be to have employees routinely evaluate themselves and note down their strengths and weaknesses.

2) Providing educational courses that combine traditional and virtual education.

3) Encouraging employees to invest more in soft basic skills by providing them with incentives and rewards.

4) Ensuring that new employees have soft skills when they are hired, and this can be confirmed during job interviews, as these skills can be discerned by talking about work and previous life experiences, or you can present a specific hypothetical scenario to them and ask them how they would deal with it.

If you feel that you need to develop your soft skills in the workplace, the first thing you can do is jot down the points that you find are weak and want to work on in a notebook. You can then discuss them with your supervisor and the people closest to you. Take advantage of the steps above and remember that any development, however big or small, needs time.

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