How to Improve Soft Skills at Work

Dr. Purushothaman
December 7, 2013

Employers these days are not just looking for technical skills - they need these so-called “soft skills” - things like the ability to think critically, to solve problems, and knowing how to work in teams. Soft skills revolve around attitude, character, and personal relationships. By improving these skills, work performance can be increased and stronger working relationships can be built. Unfortunately, it's not all the time that these skills come naturally to most people. So if you find that you are one of them, work on improving soft skills so that they become natural in how you deal with people every day.
Here are some tips on how you can develop your soft skills in the workplace:

• Develop communication skills. You should practice communicating clearly through oral, written, and even non-verbal communication. Start by making yourself aware of how others feel when you communicate or when they are around you.

• Communication works both ways, so be a pro-active listener. Learn to empathize with others. Pay attention to their body language as well as yours. Do not come off as aggressive, but try to make the atmosphere as comfortable as possible. This shows you are interested in what the other person has to say helping you gain respect and empathy as well.

• Build strong relationships. Interpersonal skills are very important in any organization since many of them are designed to work with departments and teams. Having a friendly working environment benefits everyone involved and that helps improve overall performance.

• Greet your family, friends, co-workers, subordinates, and your boss. Smile at the workplace, even at the utilities or security guys. By doing this, you encourage others to respond in kind. Even if people aren’t aware of it, they'll remember you as cheerful and positive, a joy to have around.

• Handle conflicts in a healthy manner. Try to address issues only with the individuals directly involved in a private manner. Be assertive, not aggressive or judgmental. Do try to ask questions to see their side of the story. It is best to work together to find a solution instead of looking where to point fingers.

• Dress appropriately to your profession to help produce positive vibes in your workplace. If you are a salesman, do try not to wear something that might offend your potential customers.
By constantly improving yourself, you encourage others to strive towards improvement as well. Practice doing these steps with every opportunity that you can. Wherever you go, you'll be bringing these skills with you creating a positive environment around you wherever you may be.

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