This year is your year to shine at work. While you can learn certain job skills in a traditional classroom, soft skills (such as self-motivation and time management) aren’t always so easy to pin down or practice. However, they’re worth the extra effort.
A LinkedIn study stated that 59 percent of hiring managers felt that soft skills were difficult to find. However, they are also in high demand. To be viewed as a top performer, you’ll need to get these down pat. Here’s how you can practice three of the top five most in-demand soft skills.
Be truthful, kind, constructive and patient when communicating with your coworkers and customers, whether it be in person, online or over the phone. If you need to work on your communication skills, reach outside of your coworker comfort zone. Talking with unfamiliar people gives your communication skills a workout. You’ll have to adapt to new conversational styles and situations. Over time, you’ll develop into a more comfortable and effective communicator. It’s also a chance to forge new connections. Make coffee dates with people you don’t work with directly. If you work at a small company, use your social networks to find nearby people in your industry. Offer to speak in meetings or trainings, then ask for feedback on how to improve.
It’s very rare to be in a position where you don’t work alongside other employees, which makes teamwork one of the most important job skills to master. In essence, teamwork requires working collaboratively with your peers toward a common goal. To do so, you must be willing to negotiate, take on extra work, trust others to do something you’re capable of, be dependable and communicate respectfully throughout the process. It’s an amalgamation of many soft skills. To enhance your teamwork skills, always offer to help out where you see others are struggling, even if it means going out of your way.
Similarly, when you’re working with a diverse group of people who come from different backgrounds and have different beliefs, you may have to adjust your work style to accommodate theirs. Lead your peers by celebrating differences and being open to change.
Your intelligence obviously plays a large role in your performance, but it’s even more important to take what you know and use it to think critically. Doing so means taking an objective and direct approach to work tasks. First, analyze the available information about the problem or question you’re trying to address. From there, form hypotheses you can test by making educated changes to your workflows, strategies and processes.
For example, imagine you work in a store and are tasked with getting customers to try a new product. You determine that Thursday is the store’s busiest day of the week. Then you hypothesize that if you offer a special on the new product on Thursdays, it will get maximum exposure to customers and therefore encourage the highest number of customers to buy.
These are just a few of the important job skills you should work on to show your boss that you’re a top performer. Once you’ve mastered these soft skills, there are even more you can develop. If you’re looking for suggestions, try time management, conflict resolution, independent thinking, dependability or flexibility.
Are you ready to work on these job skills so you can show your best side to your employer? If you feel ready to improve, professional development courses, like those offered by iLearn, can help you develop skills you may need at work.