26 Apr Shaw Academy’s guide to why you definitely need to learn soft skills as well as technical
Whatever your career choice, from hospitality to accountancy and everything in between, you need a variety of skills. These do, of course, include the technical skills for the role you want. If you intend to become a web designer, for example, you need to learn how to design websites. Technical skills like these are usually your first thought when planning a career path.
But there is so much more to landing and keeping the job of your dreams. Similarly, if you want to start your own business, launch your own entrepreneurial venture or develop your career in any way, you must also learn soft skills.
Why is it important to learn soft skills?
If you’re wondering what soft skills are, think about the people you choose to do business with. For example, if you’re looking for a dentist, do you choose the one that makes you feel at ease and relaxed or do you pick the one who doesn’t speak and treats you like a number? The answer is obvious. And this is the difference soft skills make.
Soft skills matter more than you realise when you start out on your career journey. It’s natural to focus on the technical skills needed, but as you make your way up the ladder, you will quickly learn why soft skills are valued so much.
They encompass everything about you that other people will react to. Soft skills are people skills, communication skills, emotional intelligence and lots of other personal attributes. These are absolutely crucial to your career success. And you can learn them through online courses with Shaw Academy in the same way that you can learn how to programme a computer or work as an accountant.
Soft skills help with business leadership
For those of you who envisage a future in business leadership, soft skills will help you excel. Everything from the way you look at problem solving, project management, motivating your employees, recruiting, team building and how your people perform, are all impacted by the level of your soft skills.
Getting along with people, making employees feel recognised and worthwhile, understanding how to talk with clients and customers – all of these skills can’t be maintained without strong personal soft skills. Often, the importance of soft skills is very much undervalued, and even ignored. This is why there is less training on offer within companies and businesses, and why career advisors won’t necessarily encourage you to learn them.
Many businesses seem to have the attitude that new employees will automatically understand how to act and how to behave. This just isn’t the case. College graduates with little work experience will not intrinsically understand the benefit or relevance of soft skills, and it can hold them back.
If you’re in a job that you can’t seem to progress in, or you feel that there is something missing or lacking from your work performance, then you should consider studying soft skills. Similarly, if you have your technical and academic skills and qualifications under your belt and are just starting out on your career path, taking a course that covers soft skills will increase your chances of getting the job of your dreams.
Closing the soft skills gap to improve your career
From a business point of view, a soft skills gap comes when it appears easy to gain clients, but not to keep them. Other warning signs include having many middle managers with a shortage of true leaders, needing to retrain staff over and over, a high staff turnover and a realisation that the team’s knowledge and experience aren’t being properly utilised.
There is a strong interpersonal dynamic within every place of work. This can’t be ignored by either employers or employees. It’s necessary for people at all levels to be able to listen well, present ideas properly, understand how to resolve conflict and communicate in a way that fosters a positive environment.
Soft skills are vital for team members and team leaders alike. Areas to develop and study include:
- The importance of taking personal responsibility in a calm way.
- How to collaborate with people at all levels.
- How to resolve conflicts internally and externally.
- How to become adaptable, open and flexible.
- How to communicate effectively.
- How to be creative and open-minded.
- How to feel included and include other people.
- The importance of soft skills if you’re mentoring or training others.
The more of these you can incorporate into your skills base, the better off you’ll be in your career. All of these aspects significantly impact how you approach clients, colleagues, peers, team members, supervisors and any other relevant stakeholders.
By learning how to develop and foster an authentically positive persona at work, you will improve every aspect of your role. Traditional training and education concentrates on hard skills and technical skills, and tend to neglect the soft skills.
In today’s business world, it’s simply not enough to be technically skilled. Soft skills are increasingly important, and some would argue more important than technical expertise. You can learn how to use a computer programme on the job, particularly if you come already armed with sophisticated soft skills.
Taking wellness skills courses that focus on stress management, resilience and anxiety management are all important for your future career. There is a real shift in focusing on your whole self at work. It’s no longer enough to concentrate solely on deliverables and outputs. By making substantial improvements to your wellbeing and stress levels will help you thrive, even in the most challenging times.
Other skills to learn include:
- Time management.
- Productivity without stress.
- Mastering your ability to focus.
- Mental resilience.
- Communication skills.
- How to listen effectively.
- Business writing.
- Thinking strategically.
- Inclusivity and diversity.
- Leadership skills.
Have a look at Shaw Academy’s soft skills courses here and see whether any of them will help you develop your career.