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5 Top Soft Skills to Future-Proof any Career

The workplace is facing fundamental changes, and many of these changes have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the trends identified by GetSmarter that are changing the workplace include mobility and urbanization, globalization and advancing technologies and automation.

What can you do to flourish in this changing world of work? 

A Financial Times article foresees soft skills such as collaboration and active listening becoming more valuable - individuals with expertise in interpersonal skills will be in demand in transforming workplaces. 

Therefore, in order to future-proof your career, you should seek to invest in soft skills training and develop your interpersonal skills.

What are soft skills?

One way to define soft skills is to try and define what they are not. Soft skills are not the hard skills or technical knowledge that are directly relevant to your job. You could obtain these technical skills and knowledge through your education or career. Hard skills are frequently easier to quantify and learn than soft skills.

In contrast, soft skills are related to how you relate to others and work with them. Soft skills are a combination of your interpersonal skills, personality attributes and people skills - all of which impact how you work with other people.

Why are soft skills important?

Soft skills are important because we use soft skills at work every day. Developing soft skills will help you interact and work effectively and meaningfully with others. This in turn can enhance your employability, help you attain your dream job and accelerate your career progression. On the other hand, a lack of soft skills can hinder your career potential. 

In a fast-changing work environment, soft skills will become increasingly important. Research by McKinsey shows that the adoption of automation and AI technologies will result in a substantial growth in demand for all technological skills. In addition, McKinsey’s research suggests that “there will be an increase in the need for workers with finely tuned social and emotional skills - skills that machines are a long way from mastering”. The demand for social and emotional skills is expected to grow by 26% in the United States and 22% in Europe by 2030.

Therefore, by developing your soft skills along with the necessary technical skills, you’ll be able to future-proof any career. 

5 top soft skills training

The good news is that many soft skills can be taught and honed. On, you can find training courses for the below top skills offered by some of the best and most innovative providers across the country.

Soft Skill #1. Leadership training

An often-asked question is whether leaders are born or made. While there is evidence to suggest that leaders can be both born and made, the good news for those wishing to develop their leadership skills is that many people agree that leaders are mostly made. 

Leading a team, an organization or even a country can be a very demanding and complex job. This is especially so given the various factors that contribute to organizational dynamics and human interaction. Therefore, a person is generally not expected to be born with all the traits and attributes that could make them an effective leader. 

There are some innate characteristics such as extraversion, social intelligence and empathy which may predispose some people to become leaders. Nevertheless, even those who may not have such inborn attributes can still develop their leadership skills. This is because most leadership skills can be acquired.

The benefits you and your organization can acquire through leadership training include better decision-making, improved communication and conflict resolution, and enhanced employee engagement and motivation.

Soft Skill #2. Communication skills training

Strong communication skills can help you bridge cultural and interpersonal differences, build relationships within your organization and externally, get others on board with your ideas, and more.

Communication skills training can help you communicate your business needs and intentions in a clear, timely and effective manner. Proper communication on things like company policies, business processes, and their job function will save you and your organization both time and money.

A study by NACE shows that employers rate communication skills as the most important quality they look for in candidates. Hence, not only will better communication skills help you in your current role, they will help you if/when you’re looking for future career opportunities. By taking a communication skills course from a top provider, you will be able to prove that you have attained a certain level of skills in this area.

Communication skills training courses are generally either aimed at a target audience or focused on a certain topic. For example, some communication skills training courses cover the most useful communication skills and techniques for leaders and executives, IT professionals or auditors. Meanwhile, other communication skills training programs focus on specific topics such as negotiating with suppliers or influencing stakeholders.

Choosing a course targeted at your position or focused on your learning goal will ensure that the course content will be relevant for you.

Soft Skill #3. Critical thinking training

Critical thinking refers to how people make judgments about specific problems based on available information. Critical thinking is a process that involves understanding a problem, finding and evaluating evidence and making informed decisions.

Accomplished critical thinkers have the ability to look for evidence to support arguments and conclusions. They would be able to use sound reasoning to solve problems. Employees with developed critical thinking skills are therefore invaluable to many organizations. With strong critical thinking skills, you will be able to make better and well-informed decisions - this in turn will have a positive impact on your organization’s performance.

Critical thinking courses and training programs aim to equip individuals with techniques and tools to generate ideas and solve problems effectively. Participants learn essential skills such as how to ask the right questions, how to challenge assumptions and how to clearly assess situations. Participants also learn how to apply the skills learnt at critical thinking training courses to real-life work situations.

Soft Skill #4. Emotional intelligence training

Emotional intelligence is the capability to read, interpret, and influence your own emotions and others’ emotions.

Daniel Goleman and Richard E. Boyatzis, experts in the field, define emotional intelligence as comprising four domains: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Within each domain are 12 competencies - these competencies are learned and learnable skills that can improve your performance at work and as a leader.

  • Self-awareness: emotional self-awareness
  • Self-management: emotional self-control, adaptability, achievement orientation, positive outlook
  • Social awareness: empathy, organizational awareness
  • Relationship management: influence, coach and mentor, conflict management, teamwork, inspirational leadership

Emotional intelligence training courses cover topics such as effective communication, body language, dealing with workplace politics, self-reflection and identifying good relationship skills. Emotional intelligence training benefits both leaders and employees and helps to create an organizational culture where everyone feels valued, respected and is empowered to collaborate.

Soft Skill #5. Team building training

For any organization to succeed, it is important that they are able to create flourishing teams where team members understand their roles and are empowered to contribute to achieving the organization’s goals.

Team building training programs will help leaders set strategies that are in line with organizational goals. Team leaders also learn to implement the best processes for motivating team members to work to their strengths and drive overall performance.

Team building training can be a game-changer for companies looking to improve employee motivation and increase productivity. Topics covered in team building training programs include:

  • Motivating your team
  • Team communication
  • The art of delegation
  • Handling difficult personalities and behaviors in the workplace

By having your team building session led by a training professional, you will ensure that each team member gets the most possible out of the experience. The training provider will design activities that build camaraderie among team members. Ultimately, team building training will help create engaged and cohesive teams who will be empowered to perform at their best.

Interested in developing  your soft skills?

Browse training courses by top providers today!

leadershipcommunication | critical thinking | emotional intelligence | team building

About the Author

Carol Pang is a Digital Content Editor for Prior to this, she has 12 years of experience in the corporate and financial sectors.

She believes that people are fundamental to an organization’s success, and that effective training can create a motivated and engaged workforce.

Last updated: 12 Jan 2021

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