6 Basic Soft Skills Needed in The Workplace

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Dear HR,

I must say I am a living testimony of Jobberman connecting job seekers to opportunities. 3 years ago after my tertiary education, I chanced on a job on your website. I applied, got shortlisted, went through a successful interview, and boom! I landed my first job with an accounting and auditing firm in Ghana.

The journey has been worth it for the past years. It’s been 3 years in the same company. I love my job and the working environment. I believe I should be in a supervisory role by now but my boss thinks my hard skills alone are not enough.

I deliver as expected but the problem is with my boss. Usually, during performance reviews, he will say. “Alex, you need to work on your soft skills”. Meanwhile, he has not pointed out the specific ones I need to acquire.

Honestly, to me, I think I have the required soft skills needed to do my work, but it seems my boss does not see it.

I know soft skills really matter, but which basic ones do you think will help me in my career journey?

Worried employee,

Alex

 

HR’s Response

 

Hi Alex,

Wow! Before we tackle your issue, we will like to say, we are glad and feel fulfilled to hear that you got your current job via Jobberman. Just as you know, connecting job seekers to opportunities in Ghana is what we seek to achieve as a business.

We are glad to know that we are making an impact in the lives of people like you.

Now to your issue concerning soft skills. Before we proceed, let’s define what soft skills are.

Investopedia explains soft skills as character traits and interpersonal skills that characterize a person’s relationships with other people.

In the workplace, these attitudinal skills really matter because no matter your job title, you will deal with people and that is why every professional must possess these traits in order to achieve career success.

If you pay critical attention to job advertisements, you will notice that employers add specific soft skills as requirements for some roles. This indicates how essential soft skills are, in the workplace.

Here are 6 basic soft skills that every employee needs to adopt in the workplace.

  • Effective Communication skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Team-Working/ Collaboration Skills
  • Creativity and Problem Solving Skills
  • Time Management and ability to work under pressure

1. Effective Communication skills

Communication skills are one of the major soft skills every employee is required to possess in every organization. Aside from the workplace, this is a skill needed in our everyday life as rational beings. It is very essential because that is what is needed to pass information from one person to the other.

Communication can be verbal or non-verbal. Effective verbal communication is when you are able to articulate your thoughts clearly and concisely. In the workplace, we send emails and instant messages to colleagues making a request or enquiring for information and if you lack the skill to craft or compose messages, it will be very difficult to communicate to the rest of the team.

Body language and facial expressions are classified as non-verbal communication. You must be conscious of your mannerisms and facial expressions while at work. Just as the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words”. You may never know, but the simple things you overlook may cost you your job.

When you are able to communicate effectively, it boosts productivity and effectiveness at work.

2. Interpersonal Skills

If you have excellent people skills, there are some roles that when given the opportunity, you will just excel effortlessly. Just like communication skills, having the ability to build and maintain relationships in the workplace is very important. People who possess this skill are seen as tolerant, respectful, and have a sense of empathy for others. They listen actively and build rapport with others easily. And they are great supervisors and managers.

3. Emotional Intelligence

In the workplace, one needs to be aware of their emotions, understand, manage their emotions and that of others. Being emotionally intelligent demands that you are self-aware, you understand self-regulation, you have a sense of self-motivation, empathy, and social skills.

People who are emotionally intelligent are exceptional leaders. They understand their team members and are able to influence them without difficulty. They are able to manage conflicts in the workplace and this is what distinguishes them from others. This is a clear indication that to succeed as a leader in your career, emotional intelligence is very necessary.

4. Team-Working/ Collaboration Skills

In this era of digitization, teamwork and collaboration play a fundamental role in the productivity and efficiency of every organization. Do you remember these quotes from world business leaders?

 “Teamwork makes the dream work.” – Bang Gae.

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people”. – Steve Jobs

Business leaders believe that to achieve the overall business goal as an organization, you need employees to understand what it means to be collaborative and work together as a team.

Collaborative skills enable you to work well with others in the workplace. Collaborative employees are active listeners, pays attention to details, respect the views of other team members, and are always willing to lend a helping hand. They believe in teamwork.

5. Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills

Creativity and problem-solving skills are needed in every work environment. In every organization, employees with problem-solving skills are innovative and are able to generate and develop new ideas to support the growth of the business. If you possess these skills you are seen as a star performer and the potential of climbing up the corporate ladder is very high.

Even if your creativity and problem-solving skills are below expectation, you can work on improving them for your personal and career development.

6. Time Management and Ability to Work Under Pressure

Time management is the ability to use your time effectively and productively to get work done. When you are able to plan and manage your time well, it prevents you from being stressed.

Have you ever felt there seems not to be enough time for you to finish up your tasks? This may be the result when you do not plan and organize your tasks. Time management demands that you are able to work smart, be productive, and be efficient. This allows you to achieve more within a set time.

As a professional, one key thing you can do to plan and manage your time is to adapt to the Eisenhower matrix, or the urgent-important matrix.

The purpose of this matrix is to enable you to plan your to-do list. From the urgent to the not urgent and the important to not so important.

When you are able to regulate this matrix and strategize, you will be able to enhance your performance and achieve your set goals efficiently and effectively.

Can Soft Skills Be Acquired?

In case you want to improve on your soft skills, first of all, you will need to write down your strengths and weaknesses. This will inform you of the specific skills you must consider developing.

Even if you do not have these skills, you can surely learn them by observing colleagues in the workplace and gradually you will develop them.

Also, there are platforms that assist professionals to identify their soft skills needs and develop them to their utmost potential. Jobberman Nigeria has a course on soft skills which you can enroll for free. At the end of this free course, you also get a certificate.

With a combination of these soft skills and the right technical skills for the job, your chance of a successful corporate leadership is very high.

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Genevieve Amponsah
Genevieve is a Community Marketer at Jobberman Ghana, who focuses on developing content that answers your questions, whether you are a job seeker or an employer. Her experiences span from news & radio production, to content marketing, digital marketing, SEO copy writing and voice over. She is a great storyteller.