Soft skills: Why they’re important for your business

As we dive into the new year, it’s an excellent time to reflect on growth and development—not just in revenue and business strategy but in the core skills that help your business thrive. We’re not talking about technical skills here, though. We’re talking about skills that can make the loudest impact: soft skills.

What are soft skills?

Unlike hard skills, which are about specific technical knowledge and abilities, soft skills are personal attributes that relate to how you work. They include your problem-solving abilities, how you interact with team members and how you manage your work. Soft skills can give you the extra oomph you need to excel in your job, and can include: 

  • Interpersonal rapport (aka people skills) 

  • Communication 

  • Listening 

  • Time management 

  • Leadership 

  • Problem-solving 

  • Empathy

While hard skills can get you into the job you want (or be the reason you hire qualified members for your team), soft skills make employees stand out.

Why do soft skills matter in business?

The power of soft skills can’t be overstated when it comes to the small business world. They’re the glue that holds your team together, the finesse that wins over customers and the oil that keeps the gears of your business running smoothly. Some studies have shown that when companies focus on soft skills, they see overall improvements in three key areas: teamwork, customer satisfaction and financial performance. 

That’s why it’s important to build a business that’s not only proficient because of the technical skills your employees possess, but also one that’s personal and adaptable thanks to an emphasis on soft skills.

What are some essential soft skills for your team?

The skills you should look for in potential candidates or within your existing team are:

  • Communication. It’s about more than just talking; team members should be able to actively listen, understand and convey their ideas.

  • Leadership. Look for employees who can guide, motivate and inspire your team.

  • Adaptability. Things can change quickly, so you need team members who can pivot and embrace change.

  • Problem-solving. Employees who can navigate challenges with creativity and confidence are a huge asset to your business.

  • Emotional intelligence. Being able to understand and manage emotions (and those of others) is a vital quality to seek in your team members.

How can you cultivate soft skills?

Help your team develop soft skills by setting an example. Demonstrate these skills when you’re interacting with your team and when it comes to decision-making. Make sure you encourage open communication and provide opportunities for your team to collaborate in new ways. Also, consider hosting workshops or investing in training sessions that focus on developing these areas. Soft skills can flourish in a culture that nurtures them.

Focus on soft skills

While technical skills are certainly very important, soft skills are extremely valuable to your business as well. They may be less tangible than financial targets, but their impact is very real. Invest in the soft skills of your team to help your business flourish. This year, make your business successful and exceptional—one soft skill at a time.

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