Nowadays, it is not enough just to have great technical knowledge to be successful in your field. You will also need to develop behavioral skills that improve your performance in the day-to-day work.
In this sense, developing soft skills is essential to excel in the market and become a good professional and leader.
Thinking about the relevance of the topic in the current job market, we created this article to explain what soft skills are and how to develop them. Have a good read!
What are Soft Skills?
First of all, let’s understand the concept!
Soft skills are nothing more than non-technical skills related to your profession. It is a set of socio-behavioral competencies, specifically linked to the management of emotions and the good use of them to deal with everyday situations.
Some time ago, soft skills were skills required from the top echelons of companies. However, the market has evolved and it was found that they are important for all hierarchical levels.
Proof of this is the study published by the Wall Street Journal, conducted with almost 900 executives, who pointed out that 92% think that soft skills are more or equally important compared to hard skills, but 89% point out that they have difficulty finding people with the necessary qualities.
What’s the difference between Soft Skills and Hard Skills?
When thinking about developing soft skills, the first thing to keep in mind is to understand the difference between soft skills and hard skills.
Basically, hard skills are the specific technical skills of each position/profession, while soft skills are the skills common to any professional.
In general, hard skills can be acquired through training, manuals, workshops, etc., while soft skills take more time to be developed, as it involves emotion management and behavioral changes, for example.
What are the most important Soft Skills?
According to Forbes Magazine, there are some soft skills that are priorities and should be developed by all levels of professionals. Check out the main ones.
Good verbal and written communication is one of the most important skills that a professional must develop to perform a good job. In times of digitalization, knowing whether to communicate virtually is essential, especially for leaders and managers.
Having the ability to make oneself clear, speak objectively and know how to interpret what the other says are characteristics that demonstrate this ability.
“Speaking the language” of the company and the team and knowing how to conduct communication democratically ensures an understanding of everyone and facilitates exchanges.
With customers, suppliers and business partners in different countries, it is increasingly important for professionals to know how to deal with cultures, ethnicities and religions from other parts of the world.
More than just “respecting” differences, best management practices point to diversity as an important asset for an organization’s success. Thus, the manager with great skills and intercultural experiences can lead projects with more competence, boosting their career.
Work Ethics and Engagement
Punctuality, focus, time management. All these characteristics are linked to work ethics. Knowing how to behave in the face of adverse situations and managing conflicts in a positive way are attitudes that demonstrate this very important behavioral skill.
Once again, citing the growing reality of remote and hybrid work, organizing and managing time, being available at the stipulated times, paying attention to deliveries and being punctual are important postures for the results to be satisfactory.
A company does not work with one person and knowing how to share the work with other professionals is essential to achieve good results.
Understanding what your functions are and how each one of them influences the work of your colleagues, being responsible with deadlines and quality in the deliveries so as not to harm the team, knowing how to communicate in a polite and objective way, having empathy and respecting the diversity of people and ideas is the key to perform the job in a complete and satisfactory way.
The creative, agile, calm and responsible thinking is what differentiates a professional in times of crisis. Knowing how to predict and devise strategies to deal with possible crises and have peace of mind and creativity to solve unexpected problems is essential for companies.
Knowing how to deal with problems is a feature that draws attention and highlights professionals in the market. Prepared professionals and companies remain more stable.
In addition to these, other important soft skills for professionals to stand out in the corporate environment are:
- Time management;
How to develop Soft Skills?
Now that you know what soft skills are and which are the most important skills to develop, let’s take a look at some tips on how to develop soft skills in a practical way.
Invest in self-knowledge
One of the most effective and lasting ways to develop soft skills is through self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is a continuous process without ready-made formulas. Then, it can be acquired with several self-analysis tools, which can happen through personal reflections, coaching process, use of methodologies, etc.
A great way to start is to include in your routine a periodic analysis of strengths and weaknesses, identifying improvements you can make in relation to the management of your emotions, time organization and interactions with co-workers, for example.
Study human behavior
Minimally knowing how the brain works and how emotions work is an excellent way to develop soft skills.
When you understand how the brain works, it is easier to manage your thoughts and behaviors, applying this knowledge to all areas of your life, including your career.
An important part of developing soft skills is practicing active listening. With it, you can learn from the experience of other people in your professional life.
In addition, it is a great way to get direct feedback — when it is done at a structured moment for this — and indirect feedback — when the act of exercising listening brings learnings on how to improve your behavior and interpersonal relationship.
Take a study trip abroad
A trip abroad is accompanied by many experiences, starting with financial planning before the trip, the organization of documentation and time management to solve pre-trip issues. Arriving at the destination will be necessary to adapt to the time zone, the food and the new routine, and, at the university, communication with people from different cultures and languages, teamwork and individual and group presentations.
Living this experience by making the most of it can help you develop many skills, which will be fundamental in your personal and professional life.
If you want to invest in your career and study abroad on a scholarship, you can join students from over 70 countries, who annually participate in IBS Americas’ short term programs.
Among our programs, learn about the International Management & Leadership course. Offered in Europe in cooperation with the CUOA Business School, it represents a unique opportunity to gather theoretical knowledge and practical experiences in living with people from other countries, cultures, religions and ethnicities.