softskills

Soft Skills Matter in the Workplace and Your Social Life

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In today’s modern, social world, you need to point to more than just a set of hard skills on your resume—like being able to type 40 words per minute, or knowing how to write computer programs in Python or Java—in order to impress a manager and persuade them to bring you on board as an employee of their company. Ironically, soft skills that enhance your qualifications in the workplace can also help you be successful socially.

Among the many soft skills that are often praised in corporate culture, there are six key soft skills that top the list in the eyes of potential employers. Being able to list one of these on your resume, or describe these strengths in an interview, can be the difference between walking out with a second appointment (or even a job offer!) or just walking out. Similarly, these soft skills can be equally important when relating to the people who cross our path as well. Having them can also be the difference in whether we live our lives with hundreds of acquaintances…or whether people draw closer to us and develop lasting, trusting friendships.

  1. Time Management

Perhaps the most fundamental of all the soft skills hiring managers look for is a person’s ability to manage their time. If potential employees can’t get this basic attribute down, they’re most likely dead in the water. The pulse and rhythm of a company is time—due dates, project durations, prioritizing, scheduling. Being able to operate in a time-sensitive corporate setting so your work gets done efficiently is priority number one for employers.

Time management is also important to friendships because once a person reaches adulthood, there are many events, tasks, and responsibilities competing for one’s time. The ability to carve out consistent time to hang out with friends all while holding a job or raising kids is essential to maintaining friendships in busy life stages.

Versatility

If there’s one thing you can count on in the workplace, it’s change—the days of staying stuck to your ways are over. Today’s companies are changing and growing like never before to keep up with the fast moving, ever-growing technological landscape and stay ahead of the game. And they need their employees to do the same. “Continuous Improvement” is an often repeated buzzword around the office. If you can demonstrate you’re adaptable, that you’ll be able to change and grow with a company as it changes and grows—instead of being a resistant burden of dead weight they’ll need to carry around—you’ll increase your chances of landing the job.

Similarly, versatility can be incredibly useful in social settings as well. So often, conflict in friendships comes as a result of unmet expectations where two parties have different ideas of what friendship is and how friends should act. A versatile person, however, is aware that different people have different communication and social styles and rather than always pointing blame, they adapt their expectations to better fit the type of relationship their friend prefers. Versatility can also be useful in situations when friends need to cancel or postpone plans at the last minute. Rather than withdrawing into resentment, versatile people understand that adult life can be tough to negotiate and therefore they don’t have to take their friend’s limited availability personally.

Communication

This one seems simple and obvious. But not everyone’s a good communicator—and exceptional communication is essential for a company to run smoothly. Smart employers know that persuasion, expression, and how someone relays information, are key ingredients in any successful employee. Being able to clearly explain what’s needed in an email or let your manager know the specifics of the situation is a soft skill companies will have an eye out for.

Problem Solving

Let’s face it, problems both big and small surface in every company—and potential employees who have the skills to solve them move to the top of the hiring list. When considering a potential employee, hiring managers often ask for specific examples of problems the interviewee has solved in their past employment or they may ask how the interviewee would approach a specific hypothetical dilemma. Being able to proof your problem-solving accomplishments moves you ahead of the competition.

Along the same lines, problem solving can also come in handy in social scenarios. If one friend strongly prefers outdoor adventures while another prefers camping out indoors and watching movies, a problem solver can come up with compromises and solutions that work with everyone. They see the win-win of doing one person’s preferred activity today and agreeing to do the other’s chosen activity the next time. Or they opt for a quick hike followed by a movie. The ability to see solutions and not just problems is a positive trait in the work place or social arena.

Initiative

Take this to the bank—constant oversight is an employer’s worst nightmare. The last thing most supervisors want is to serve as babysitters. An employee who lacks initiative puts a burden on a company’s upper management because precious time has to be spent either making sure they’re doing their job or even having to do the job for them. Being a self-starter shows your potential employee right off the bat that you have the occupational maturity to fulfill your responsibilities successfully—without the company having to hold your hand.

Taking initiative in the social realm is also a big plus. While it’s healthy to rely on friends to support you, especially in challenging times, the most successful friends also take initiative to be proactive and reflective about their own personal growth. They seek learning by reading, taking classes, going to therapy, attending church, meeting with a life coach, and other things rather than simply expecting their friends to solve all their problems–emotional, spiritual, physical, and so on. Friends with initiative understand that no one should rely on their friends to meet all of their personal and psychological needs.

Teamwork

The ability to collaborate and cooperate is central in today’s company environments that often promotes team over individualism. Potential employees who can demonstrate they’re able to function as a team player increase their chances of employment big time. No employer wants a lone ranger that could go against the company grain and cause problems with others. So if you’re looking to land that special job with the company of your dreams make sure to leave your ego outside the interview room.

Similarly, friends like people who aren’t just seeking to showboat and humble-brag about their own accomplishments, but who sincerely want to root on their friends to accomplish their goals as well. If you can celebrate your friends’ wins and even invest in their path to success along the way, they will value you forever.

Knowing how to manage your time, being flexible, communicating properly, solving problems that arise, taking the initiative, and being a team player will not only make certain your corporate success, it will also ensure a healthy social life outside the office.

Take the time to understand these basic soft-skills more closely, and make a personal commitment to put them into practice. Doing so will set you on course for a happier, more satisfying life.



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