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Why soft skills matter

They could be the difference between meeting a deadline or missing out. They could be the difference between a client choosing you and choosing someone else. They could be the difference between success and failure.

Soft skills aren’t secondary. They’re an essential part of the modern workplace.

The term ‘soft’ can be misleading. It makes ‘soft skills’ sound like they’re less important than hard skills. The reality is they’re simply harder to define. What is the actual definition of soft skills, you say? 

They’re a set of interpersonal skills that make it easier to navigate the world around us, and especially the world of work. Communication skills, emotional intelligence, time management, personality traits and even stress management skills.

Here lies the confusion with soft skills. You know how to use a piece of software or you don’t. Figuring out how to show emotional intelligence may be less clear, even though it’s one of the most vital soft skills for the modern workplace.

Why soft skills are important in the workplace

As so much of what we do has become online or automated, soft skills have become more important to separate the competition. 

If you have one phone call to sell a solution to a client, your communication skills have to be on point. 

And they’re vital no matter what level you’re at. A good manager communicates well, listens effectively and is creative in finding solutions to any problems that arise.

Soft skills and hard skills, not soft skills v hard skills

With soft skills, suddenly your hard skills become easier to accomplish. Being able to receive feedback calmly and effectively, managing your time well, and resolving conflict that may arise in the team are all soft skills that contribute to doing a better job. 

So how do we develop soft skills?

It’s simple: keep learning and asking questions. 

THRIVE’s microlearning catalogue contains a whole range of resources on soft skills, from customer service to leadership, communication and negotiation.

Alongside this, don’t be afraid to ask those around you for support, or even just feedback. Those you work with, and even know personally, will all have their own insights into how developed your soft skills are. Even if it means listening to less than perfect answers, being able to ask the question and take the feedback constructively… 

Well, that’s a soft skill right there.

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