Getting a job involves some criteria such as a degree, work experience, and professional references, but what essentially makes you stand out as an excellent and irreplaceable employee are your soft skills. Soft skills should be the main focus on the path of your development and self-improvement at your workplace because it will help you work more effectively, build effective professional relationships with your colleagues, and overcome challenges you face on the job.
Strengthen interpersonal relationships
One of the first steps towards building successful relationships at work is creating a friendly atmosphere. You should aim to build friendships with colleagues, supervisors, clients and business partners. Try to be as friendly as possible with people who surround you on a daily basis. You can always chat with people during your coffee and lunch breaks, but you should also try to participate in work events, such as softball club, together. Or you can even invite your peers to some of the local events like block parties, concerts, and so on.
However, not everyone you work with will be your exact cup of tea, and that’s totally okay. Conflicts are a common part of our everyday life, especially in the workplace. What is important to keep in mind is to always address issues in a private manner and have a very rational and non-judgmental approach. By asking questions and trying to understand their point of view you will manage to ease the tension and deal with a certain conflict in a much healthier way.
Improve your stress management
When challenging situations arise you should be able to manage your stress and stay calm. Taking care of both your physical and mental health is very important, which is why you need to learn how to channel your energy in the right direction. This especially goes for workplace situations. You might not be able to always agree with your co-workers, but you still need to be tolerant and patient with them if you want to create the most comfortable atmosphere for everyone. For instance, try to restrain yourself from giving rude remarks, don’t judge the situation without full knowledge of what’s going on, never yell, take a deep breath when you feel stressed, etc.
Work on your self-confidence
Building your self-confidence involves a lot of faith. You need to constantly remind yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to. If you didn’t have the skills which are needed for this job, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. So, focus on your goals and try to work on having a positive attitude. One of the most useful tips that might come in handy when trying to improve your self-confidence is to avoid comparing yourself with others. Everyone works and progresses at their own pace. You just need to give yourself some time. Don’t deceive yourself by thinking you can’t achieve what others can. You are capable of learning just as much as your colleagues are. There’s always some more space for improvement, you just need to believe in yourself and everything will run smoothly.
Develop your communication skills
When working on your communication skills you should, above all, aim to be understood. Your main goal is to communicate clearly. Try to avoid fancy language, because it can make the message you’re trying to send a bit confusing and unclear. Firstly, you should try to stay on topic and focus on the point of your communication no matter the importance of the topic. The other factor you should also keep in mind is to be specific; because it will help you get to the point. If you want to improve your clarity, consider using specific terms instead of general pronouns.
Monitoring your own body language and keeping eye contact with the person you’re talking to is also crucial. You need to show interest in the conversation and you can do that by adjusting your sitting position towards them and slightly leaning in. You could also mimic the other person’s posture because this way you will send them a message that you’re both the same. This will help you connect with them and will put them at ease. You should definitely avoid tapping your fingers or foot since it might end up looking like you’re impatient. When it comes to eye contact, it’s important to ensure your partner that you’re paying full attention to what they are saying. Keeping eye contact will make them feel like you’re actually engaged in the topic of your conversation.
Another important aspect you should aim to practice is speaking, which includes both public speaking and casual conversations. As already mentioned above, your goal is to be understood which means that you also need to be conscious of how you articulate the message. Three aspects you should definitely take into consideration are your volume, pace, and intonation. And if you feel like you are not completely satisfied with your knowledge of English language, signing up for the English pronunciation course is always a great option.
However, communication is not only about improving your speaking skills, but rather about learning how to listen to others as well. Active listening includes mastering self-discipline and great focus. You should aim to listen to your partner to understand the situation, to empathise, and to judge whether a plan is a good one or not. This way you’re actively showing your partner that you’re paying attention and that you care about what they’re saying.
Demonstrate enthusiasm and ingenuity
Take initiative, or in other words show enthusiasm for your job by doing more than what is expected of you. Do your tasks and finish the work you have without having to be reminded by your supervisors. If you end up having some spare time kindly ask your colleagues if they need any help. You should also strive to develop your technical skills by asking for more challenging work. Try to expand your knowledge in other departments as well. Taking an additional class from time to time, or subscribing to a magazine which covers topics of your field of work will pay off.
Improving your problem-solving skills is also something that will matter in the long run. The key to approaching any kind of problem is to keep your focus on the solution. Be open-minded in every situation and never dismiss the solutions which might seem unlikely at the beginning. There are numerous different games that can challenge your problem-solving skills and help you improve them. Chess, card games, Scrabble and video games are just some of them.
Boosting your creativity will help you find interesting ways of doing your job, or solving some problems you might run into. There are many activities that can inspire you, build your creativity and help you think outside the box. Brainstorming, for example, can make you come up with some of the most original and ground-breaking ideas and solutions at work. You can also collaborate with your co-workers in order to go over some ideas and see numerous approaches different people would take with a certain idea. If that doesn’t help, you can always look for inspiration in some places other than work, such as museums, art galleries, and so on.
To conclude, working on your soft skills altogether is very important if you want to make progress in your field of work. It will better your personal relationships; build your character and attitude. By nurturing these skills, you will certainly accomplish so much more than you ever imagined you could.