Creating good teamwork is an art form itself. It requires skills that cannot be measured nor be nailed down in concrete terms. These are so-called “soft skills” – interpersonal skills, adaptability, communication, listening skills, empathy, creative thinking, motivation, and critical thinking are only a few examples. All of these skills are non-technical, non-job-specific, and very human-centered. That makes them useful no matter what setting or situation you find yourself in. Let’s look at each of them a little bit closer:
8 Examples Of Soft Skills
- Interpersonal Skills: How do you interact with other people? Do you meet people on eye-level and with respect? Are you able to stand your ground while staying open to other standpoints?
- Adaptability: How well are you at adapting to new and different circumstances? Do you flight, fight or freeze when circumstances change or do you see the new opportunities in a new situation? Do you hold on to the old or do you pivot when needed?
- Communication: How do you communicate with others? Do you speak the truth? Do you manipulate? Do you speak in monologue or dialogue?
- Listening Skills: How well do you take in what others communicate? Are you interested in others’ perspectives? Do you take other people seriously?
- Empathy: How well do you understand other people? Are you able to put yourself into the shoes of all kinds of people and circumstances? Do you care about your fellow humans? Can you put yourself in the background?
- Creative Thinking: How creatively are you able to think? Do you stay on the well-trodden path or can you imagine alternative roads? Are you curious or in control?
- Motivation: How well are you at keeping yourself motivated? Do you set yourself goals and ambitiously work towards them or do you quickly give up? Do you keep your WHY in mind or move blindly through life?
- Critical Thinking: How critically are you able to think? Do you blindly believe in the status quo or do you question it? Do you seek out the truth or accept the loudest opinion? Do you think for yourself or assume the answers of others?
Now you might be thinking ‘How can I develop these kick-ass skills?’. Read on, fellow pirate, read on!
Learning By Doing
Soft skills are not something you gain by reading a book or watching a webinar about it. Like any other skill, you obtain these by practicing them: You learn to listen by listening; you gain empathy by being empathetic, and you become creative by using your creativity.
All of these skills have in common, that they focus on human interaction. They all require a certain level of social and emotional intelligence to succeed. You’re not going to gain any of these skills if you don’t care about your fellow human beings.
Tips To Gain Soft Skills
- define values: if it is important to you to be a nice human being who shows compassion for others, you’ll have a reason to start developing your soft skills and feel a greater sense of accountability.
- evaluate your current level: looking at the skills above, which ones are you naturally good at and which are still in need of improvement? Rate them from a scale from 1-10 to identify which skills you need to focus on.
- seek out learning opportunities: depending on which skills need more improvement, find situations or experiences where you can develop the skill. For example, if you’re bad at listening, call a grandparent and let them share about their life.
- track your development: set yourself a concrete goal you want to reach and check in regularly to see how much progress you have made.
The Road To Leadership
Part of being a leader requires mastering many of the soft skills mentioned above. In order to build trust with those who are supposed to follow you, you need to be able to communicate well. You need to listen to them, show empathy, motivate them, etc. Leadership is not only about being in a powerful position and being able to tell people what to do. It is much more about building trust and thus gain a following of people who believe your decisions are true and purposeful. If you are interested in the topic of leadership, you should check out our blog post about what it means to be a leader.
Everyone is potentially a leader, but those who really succeed in embodying the characteristics of a leader are those who develop a high level of soft skills. And remember: Just because you’re a team member and perhaps not the official leader, every team member needs a certain level of leadership skill – only when everyone carries part of the shared responsibility, a team really works.
So now it’s time to start practicing! Assess your current skill level, start leveling up, and you’ll be a leader in no time!