Soft skills are those character traits that help us to make the most of our workplace and career relationships. These traits are what provide us with leadership strength, flexibility as team members and empathy to communicate with others. In short, soft skills are the glue for keeping office relationships together.
At Flexible Workplace, we constantly work with small businesses and what we’ve observed time and again is the necessity to develop those soft skills in smaller organisations where strong bonds are critical. With our understanding of the importance of effective team work, we’ve identified six key character traits, which we believe are all important in bringing people together.
- Every team player is a leader.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a project leader or working the back end, every team player must cultivate the characteristics of a leader. That means showing initiative, taking ownership of your work, inspiring and motivating others.
- Every team player is a problem solver.
Critical thinking is a skill everyone needs in order to keep the team dynamic, fresh and focused. When a problem arises, you must be able to break it down dispassionately without playing the blame game. Rather work together to find the best and most logical solution to apply going forward.
- Every team player is a communicator.
In the age of social media and instant messaging, everyone must be able to write in a short, sharp and focused manner. To get a point across, you must draw the reader in from the first line, whether it is an internal report or a pitch to client.
- Every team player is a creative strategist.
Most companies are moving away from hierarchies to flat structures. People are working together at all levels to ensure a brand stays relevant, profitable and exciting. Creative thinking involves looking at your business in the context of its competitors, then coming up with compelling ideas to keep you one step ahead.
- Every team player is flexible and adaptable.
In today’s competitive market place, everyone needs to be constantly learning and open to new ways of doing things. Technology drives change; it also infuses innovation. People need to be flexible to be able to react positively to changes in the work environment. A team player doesn’t look for conflict – but rather exciting challenges.
- Every team player is a fully committed.
Talent comes and goes, but consistency and perseverance are the cornerstones of success. Being committed is probably the most important character trait someone needs to start a project and see it through to a successful completion. Meeting any obstacles along the way with resilience and focus is part of that journey.
Why do we need soft skills?
Soft skills are easily transferred from career path to another. Empathetic listening, for example, is something you will need whether you work in a call-centre or are the CEO of a major corporation.
Companies today understand that technical skills can always be learned, but creativity and positivity are the most valued assets to protect the integrity of their brand.
It improves interaction in the office, by ensuring people are communicating in the same language and pursuing the same values and goals. It boosts office morale and this energy cascades into higher profits and efficiency.
It bolsters time management skills. When people are working together in a healthy and transparent environment, their productivity improves and they work harder to satisfy their own career objectives.
By Brad Porter