By Dale Isip

In the professional world, there are technical skills specific to different vocations. A nurse may know how best to record blood pressure statistics, for example, while an architect may have a good knowledge of physics. These skills are what are considered hard skills – those that are oriented around machinery and technology.

In contrast, those skills that center around people, work dynamics, and perspective are considered soft skills. These skills may have an actual effect on wages – in one 1980 to 2012 study, those with high social skills and low math skills made real wages comparable with those with low social skills and high math skills – often within a 10 percent margin of difference. The advantages of these skills are great: and this article will explain soft skills and how best to develop them.

Soft Skill Examples

Soft skills deal with people, work environments, and approaches to work. Soft skills centered around people can include things like in-person communication, networking abilities, relatability, negotiation, and public speaking. These skills are valuable because they develop person-to-person connections, which can improve client and customer relationships, increasing the potential for company growth.

In terms of work environments, soft skills can include things like time organization, team management, scheduling, and project management. These soft talents are like interpersonal skills on a macro level. The ways in which projects and teams can function positively requires the same knowledge as person-to-person interactions, but amplified to reach a group. These skills can help a business function and become more productive.

Finally, there are soft skills that deal with attitudes and approaches to work. These are the most individual skills, and can include things like problem-solving, professionalism, enthusiasm, a developed sense of humor, flexibility, and creativity. These talents are a measure of one’s professional outlook, and how a worker can face challenges with interest and resiliency. These individual soft skills can make a trained worker become a learning (and learned) individual.

How To Grow Soft Skills    

At the heart of growing soft skills is the need to change one’s personal approach to work. A mind open to learning – in every aspect of an occupation – is a mind that can grow soft skills. Learning a client’s likes and dislikes, desires, and ambitions can help soft skills on an interpersonal level, for example, while learning a team’s favorite hours to work can help bolster group-oriented soft skills.

Learning how other people react positively or face challenges with enthusiasm can help grow individual soft skills. The more one takes interest in learning every aspect of a job, the better they can grow their soft talents. From this, one can form a foundation of soft skills.

In addition to a learning mindset, engaging in social activities, inside or outside of work,  can help develop soft skills. Participating in networking events, music, art, and sports are all ways to interact with people on an individual, or a group level. From such interaction soft skills can grow, contributing to an improved work dynamic.