Soft skills are the skills you possess that go beyond your technical, measurable abilities. Soft skills focus more on your social, leadership, communication and problem-solving skills, among others. While hard skills are composed of the training and knowledge you’ve grown during the course of your career, soft skills are how you work with others and on your own. Although soft skills are more personality-based, you can still improve them.
How to improve your soft skills
1. Be open to feedback
A large part of improving your soft skills is being open to feedback you may receive from supervisors, managers and even coworkers. When you’re open to feedback, you can be better able to receive constructive criticism and use that information to improve in your workplace role, including your soft skills. You may receive feedback on your communication skills, ability to work in a group, time management, leadership potential and more. As you’re receiving feedback, consider thanking the individual who’s providing it and developing a plan, either with yourself or through speaking with a manager, to improve and learn.
2. Communicate often
Effective communication is a soft skill that benefits everyone in the workplace. Although you may have tasks and responsibilities that don’t require the help of anyone else in your office, take the opportunities you have to form relationships with those around you. Communicate often to develop this soft skill. This includes communication face-to-face, through email and in presentations to a group. Since nearly every method of communication differs from another, it’s important to communicate through various means so your communication soft skills are more well-rounded.
3. Emphasize teamwork
When you engage in good teamwork, you show your employer that you are great at collaborating with others. Teamwork could occur in a group setting for a presentation or one-on-one with another coworker to complete a shared task. During a shared task or daily responsibility, allow each member of the group to contribute their share and celebrate the different skills and personalities of the group. When you emphasize teamwork, you open yourself up to learning opportunities from your coworkers while improving your own skills.
4. Build positive relationships
A lot of the soft skills you use in the workplace rely on the relationship you have with other employees and managers. You can build positive relationships with your coworkers by engaging in a genuine conversation about their weekend plans, family, hobbies and interests. Try to find ways to connect with them over a shared experience. If you work in a department with multiple people, consider asking everyone if they would be interested in going out for a group lunch on Friday.
5. Step outside of your comfort zone
As with anything you want to improve, it’s important to step outside of your comfort zone and take on something new. This may be a new setting, new responsibilities or a leadership role. You can even offer to be the one in your group who gives the project presentation as a way for you to improve your public speaking skills. Placing yourself in unfamiliar territory professionally has the potential to showcase to your manager how seriously you take your job and allows you to learn something completely new.
6. Get ready to learn
As you go through your process of improving any soft skill, you may encounter setbacks, but you’ll likely encounter many successes too. In either case, what’s important is that you learn from them.
These are some tips to help you.