What Are Soft Skills (Soft Skills List)
When one has developed the qualities here on our soft skills list, they present themselves as a very valuable resource to the workforce. As well as typically tend to do better in every area of their lives.
Soft skills, at it’s most basic definition are:
Qualities that are desirable for certain types of employment, which don’t depend on acquired knowledge. In it’s most basic sense, they include the ability to deal with people, possess a positive attitude along with having common sense.
They are essentially interpersonal skills that help one be a better teammate. Contributing to the team on a one on one basis. And the whole team at large.
You may notice, when reading this article, that they intertwine nicely. Traits of one soft skill will show up in another soft skill. So once you improve one soft skill, you simultaneously improve all the others. There is a compounding effect to it.
All of these qualities on a list are great for putting on resumes. And employers like to see them. Below you can learn all of the most important soft skills. And how to more deeply develop them into your work life.
This is the tip of the iceberg. But there are also more direct and targeted soft skills. A list of them below will provide insight into what they are. Along with how to strongly build these qualities into your personality and psyche.
The 9 Soft Skills (Complete List)
When most people think of leadership, the first thing that pops into their mind is people following them. And yet leadership, at it’s core, is essentially leading others to find their potential. Their gifts. Their passions.
A good leader actually creates more leaders.
I wrote an entire article for you, if you want to go deep into how to be a leader. Check it out.
Otherwise, here are some tips on how to become the best leader you can be.
Come along side others. A manager talks from above someone. A leader talks to someone. A manager enforces, a leader encourages.
Leaders are also pioneers. They aren’t afraid to follow their vision. Even if it has a good chance of failing. Innovation is another quality of a leader. Always thinking outside the box.
You can innovate better by always asking yourself “How can I make this better.”
Leaders also have a growth mindset. Humility and willingness to be wrong are huge for a leader. A good leader is not as much concerned with being right, as getting it right.
That is why a good leader is always seeking different perspectives of the people “below” and “above” him. The more perspectives he/she can gather, the better.
Because the fact of the matter is, by seeking different perspectives, they will reveal our blindspots. Once we realize our blindspots, we can correct our trajectory. And yet we can’t see our blindspots alone. That is why we are always needing to include others in the process of our leadership.
A leader is also very transparent. What you see is what you get. They have strong core values that allow them to maintain impeccable integrity.
They take the bull by the horns. And assume responsibility for both the good and the bad. Although they usually are very modest when good is attributed to them. Spreading love to the other teammates first.
You will rise faster in life, your company or in your entrepreneurial endeavors.
A good leader is also very resourceful.
They also have very good emotional intelligence. Using the ability to use their gut and intuition to read both people, along with the market place. This follows up with empathy. A leader seeks firs to understand their people. As well as good patience.
They operate with passion along with purpose. With a big vision for where they want their own and their teams lives to go. And won’t stop until that vision becomes a reality.
Lastly, a good leader is very action oriented. Instead of waiting for the perfect plan, they tend to act their way into a perfect plan. Giving it some or even no thought. Acting first, and course correcting along the way.
Problem Solving Skills
Problem solving skills is another one of the core soft skills. Better problem solving firsts comes from having enough sleep and eating quality foods. This will prepare the mind of a more resilient and clear thought process.
Other ways to attain better problem solving skills include:
Brainstorming: Either by oneself, or in a group. Essentially proper brainstorming is very non-biased. This is a no judgement process. Anything flies. As the less one permits themselves in thinking, the better the answer will come from this exercise. A non-biased brain dump.
Managing Emotions: Good problem solvers need to have clear thoughts. Emotions can cloud good judgement and thinking. Meditation can help calm emotion. They are able to manage their own emotions and others, then channel them into a creative pursuit of a completed project or goal.
Decisiveness: Another quality the helps with faster problem solving. One does not need to waver in their thought process. Fast decisions bring about faster solutions.
Solution Oriented: Instead of getting caught up in the problem, be asking yourself solution based questions. Things like “how can I solve this”, “what is the answer to the problem?”, “If I knew what the solution was, what would it be?”. OR “What if?” or “Imagine if”.
These types of questions will allow you to get outside of the problem. You will also be seeing it from a higher perspective. Transcending the feeling of being stuck with the problem forever.
Also, to be more solution oriented, see problems as challenges. It is reframing a negative to a more positive outlook.
Starting with a KNOWING that this is a solution, provides much more optimism when tackling problems.
Problem Solving Activities: A great site talked about things you can be doing in your life to help you have better problem solving skills that include:
- Sleeping Good
- Mind Maps
These 7 activities can help build better problem solving skills. All are excellent for challenging our brains.
For even more tips and tricks for problem solving activities, check out this article.
Just like anything, a good work ethic is a good habit that can build created. No matter how hard of a worker you already are, you can become better.
A few good tips on how to have a good work ethic include:
Time Management: Good time management is so crucial to having a good work ethic. As we all have 24 hours in a day. It is how we use our 24 hours that makes our breaks out day. A good time to help you utilize your time better is to track your day. Write down what you are doing each day. You will notice patterns on when your work ethic is strong, and when it is weak.
You can maximize your time by recognizing when you are on a roll and when each day. And scheduling your most important and energy consuming things during that time of the day.
Good Sleep: Have you ever tried to sleep less to get more done? How did it work out for you? For me, I know that when I try this, I get less done. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep is healthy. And it will help you have the mental energy you need to do good work and consistent work throughout the day.
Do It When You Don’t Feel Like It: Sorry to be the one to have to remind you, but we need to be doing things when we don’t want to. The more we do this, the more we will act when we don’t want to act.
Make it a priority to do one thing a day that you truly don’t want to do. And do it right when you feel the feeling of not wanting to act.
Punctuality: Be on time or early for everything. Doing so makes you into a trustworthy person. People know you are a person of your word. It is very respectful to do this as well.
Rid Distractions: It takes a lot of time to start and stop. When we are constantly getting distracted, we start and stop dozens of times per day. It takes time to get in the zone, as well as time to get back in the zone when distracted.
What are your biggest 3 distractors? Things that distract you multiple times each and every day. I know for me, one for sure is Instagram. I learned from productivity coach Brendon Burchard to schedule my social media time throughout my day. Once in the morning and once in the evening.
Doing so with alarms to remind myself to engage in these actions. And not doing so until those alarms ring.
Using alarms on your phone for your distractions. And allow yourself the freedom to be distracted. But only on your timeframe in which you set for them. You rule them instead of them ruling you.
Also, take the person out to lunch, whom is the hardest worker you know. Find out what they are doing. Success leaves clues. Odds are that they only have a very small handful of things they are doing differently than you. You are probably just a couple tweaks away from knowing what it takes to create a stronger work ethic.
A good team player is someone who puts the needs of the team above their own. We all, of course want to be the star player. And yet, it is better to win the title and be the best team in the league. Than it is to be MVP but have the worst record in the league.
Our egos want the glory. And yet, like leadership, the more we get rid of our ego, the better team players we become.
Also, if it helps any, what happens to the best team players in the pros? They go from being on a mediocre team, to being picked up by the best teams. And hence, being paid much more to do the same job.
The same can be true with you. Good employers want team players, as most people are only worried about themselves. The more you help the team, the more likely you will get promoted, and run bigger and more important teams.
Other traits of a good team player include:
Reliability: A good team player is also a very reliable person. They bring consistency to the team. They aren’t the homerun or strikeout players. They are the ones that are getting base hits and doubles. Knocking in runs. Stealing bases. Hitting sacrifice flies. A player that can be relied on to come through to get the team over the edge. One that uses and implements the fundamentals every day.
Positive: When you think of a captain of a team, you think of someone who uplifts people when they are down. And motivates people to higher levels when they are up. Good team players motivate their team. And they are always looking on the bright side of things.
When the team is in a slump, they show up with a good attitude. When things are going good, they have the same attitude. Good team players bring an even-keelness to the work place.
Competent: A good team player is also good at what they do. They truly want to excel in their position. They know the ins and outs. They know that the more they fill their cup, the more they can pour out of it into their team. Essential, they become like educators. To where their pupils are the teammates. In which the more knowledge they give, the more competent the team becomes as a whole.
Empathetic: A good team player is always looking for the best in people. If they see someone slacking, they don’t want to get rid of this person. They want to understand why they are slacking. Then think about other positions this person could fulfill better than they current, before ever thinking about getting rid of them.
Detail Oriented: A team player is also detail oriented. She is looking to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. This is crucial to being a good team player because of the fact that being laxidasical creates holes in the plan. I am not saying that they are perfectionists, but they get the little things right. As the little things add up to big things. And getting the little things right ensure long term wins.
A great way to resolute conflict is to simply ask someone for their advice on the matter you are trying to resolve.
Often times, when we are getting into conflict, all we want to do is win the argument. We often times forget and don’t treat the person as an actual human. Just an obstacle in the way of winning the conflict.
We also try to be as efficient as possible. Trying to get through the conflict as fast as possible.
But human relationships don’t work this way. And in order to resolve conflict, we need to think in a WIN-WIN way. How can both sides win?
What can we do to preserve the relationship so that both sides walk away feeling as if things are even.
Because even if we “win” a conflict, we can obliterate the other side. Ruining a chance to collaborate and help each other in the future.
To resolve conflicts, remember to always “seek first to understand”. Try not to attack the other side. Get the other side talking as much as you can. Let them justify their emotions. Show that you are truly listening to them by summarizing what they are saying to you.
If you make the other side feel understood, chances are you can have more influence on them later on to find a win-win solution.
Another great question to ask during negotiation and conflict resolution is to ask the other side “What would you do in my position?”.
This gets the other side thinking in terms that you too are a human being with needs and desires like them.
It breaks the persons frame and get them thinking more about solutions that can be beneficial do you.
The true takeaway of engaging in successful conflict resolution is to negotiate in a way that won’t ruin the relationship. Think of this person as a teammate in which both of you are playing to win. But if you play together, you both can win much bigger. In a long term sense.
Because if you ruin relationships, word will get out. People won’t trust you. And your reputation will be shot.
I have always felt that the best way to communicate is purely authentic. What you see is what you get. If you have a problem with someone, it needs to be addressed. If you missed something and are confused, raise your hand ASAP.
Of course there is a way that you communicate that strengthens the relationship, versus hindering it. And that is to simply be polite yet firm. Empathetic yet direct. A mix of both soft and hard communicating is a good style to follow.
To improve your communication skills, here are a few tips that you can use:
- Process what you heard by taking time before responding.
- Repeat back what your heard the other person saying. You don’t want to be like a parrot, simply paraphrase what they are saying.
- Maintain good eye contact. Show the person that you are listening with more than just your ears. It also shows respect and that they have the floor.
- Face people directly when talking to them.
- Check in every so often to see if you are still on the same page. Ask more questions, instead of a stream of talking.
Good cognitive ability is one of the most important of the soft skills. Flexibility in mindset is similar to having an open mindset or growth mindset.
You are able to let your mind expand to new territory that it wouldn’t be able to if you got caught up in prideful thinking. Or knowing it all.
It is heavily peppered a feeling of compromise. You are more worried about the big picture. Long term thinking is favored over short term thinking when one has flexibility in their cognitive ability.
Most people believe that it is simply weak to compromise or give in. Again to build this soft skill of flexibility, we need to do away with needing to be right.
The openness to being wrong is a heavily favored trait in humanity. As when you implore this in both your personal and professional life, you give other the freedom to think in the same terms.
This fosters a much more growth oriented environment.
Essentially it is saying I can be right, you can be right, we all can be wrong. We can be a little right.
It is all about FINDING the right answer however you can find it.
The farther and more broader you can think outside the box, the better.
This will allow you to be able to adapt to any situation, small or large, thrown at you. Seeing everything as constructive criticism and a chance to grow and get better.
If pride is a big thing here with you, see occasions for making you get better. For example if you don’t have the right answers, you simply are open to learning the right answers. Instead of staying in a state of pride and not advancing.
Put your pride aside would be the biggest theme with this soft skill
To become more of a flexible person, use some of these tips:
- Stay calm when things are moving fast, you can think more clearly.
- Try new things in your life. Food, new roles at work, visit new places in and out of the city.
- Be confident in your abilities and yet be open to doing things different.
- Ask others where your blind spots are. This can and should come from people below and above you.
- Multi-task more often. Allowing you to be more adaptable and flexible in the workplace.
- Get out of your comfort zone.
- Listen more and listen better. This will let you process feedback and use it to getting better.
- Volunteer to cover colleagues to learn their position a bit more. Becoming more versatile.
- Think ahead to have different solutions you can implore for challenges on the job.
Be committed to the goal, but not the path to getting the goal. If you see that something isn’t working for you, reach out and learn from others that are doing better. Don’t let it become your blindspot.
Creativity is another form of adaptability. A person that is creative in on the job has a very artistic type of viewpoint. They are looking at the job as if it is a canvas and their skills and mindset are the paint.
A create person is not black and white. They aren’t afraid to try different colors and color schemes to make something even more beautiful and original than what they began with.
You aren’t there just to do the very minimum of what it takes to get to the end of the day. You see work as an expression of yourself. Where your true gifts and talents can flow through you into.
By looking at it this way, you simply add more value to the job. You know what you can bring to the job, and harness creative expression through these gifts.
Creativity in the workplace can be developed by:
Self-Reflection – Ask yourself everyday things like “what did I do well today?”. “What can I improve upon”. “What did I learn.”
Questions like this will allow you to continue to refine your approach to work. Always learning and growing and becoming better at your craft. The better your become, the more artistic you will be in your approach. Just as an artist who gets better through practice, you will be able to paint your approach that much better on your professional canvas.
Take Risks – Call people you wouldn’t normally call. Go on lunches with people higher up than you. Speak up more at meetings. Do things that make you into a much more creative work as you will be getting out of your comfort zone. This will make your mind expand, allowing you to be more creative in every area of your professional and personal life.
Change Your Scenery – Get your creative juices flowing by switching up where you are putting down your work. Or if you have training you can do for work, do so at the beach, in the forest or at a lake. These places can switch up your routine enough to get you outside of the feeling of the monotony that the workplace can bring.
Ask your employer for the freedom to work offsite. Prove to them that you are putting in hours and show them that you are able to do well offsite.
It is said that although people that are more “realists” more accurate, optimists get more out of life. They do more, become more and contribute more. As they are almost delusional about what they can be, do and become. But this so called delusional quality makes them act bigger. Take on more challenges and act in unrealistic ways. Getting better results than realists.
People like to be around optimistic people. Especially in the workplace. If you can bring optimism, you can really set yourself apart.
Read great books that can help you become optimistic. Here is a place to start if you are looking for books that can help you become more positive:
Some of these books include:
- Good To Great – James Collins
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman
- Over The Top by Zig Ziglar
- How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
- Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins
- The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
- The Magic of Thinking Big David J. Schwartz
Humor is another great quality that can add a positive dimension to the version of yourself that you bring to the workplace.
Try going through your life finding humor in every situation. Work and life can make us become too serious. Humor can let you enjoy your job and your life so much more.
Here is a resource for you to learn how to become more humorous:
Humor truly disarms people. It lessens friction, can stop arguments right in their tracks. Along with make some fantastic friendships and build great relationships.
Here is a great video that can help you hone your humor skills and take your comedic timing the next level!
Conclusion To List of Soft Skills
There you are my friend. A list of soft skills that you can develop to become an incredibly value addition to the workplace. You will be able to excel on the job, more and more, as you develop and implement these skills.
You will be able to shine brighter in the workplace. Along with be up for promotions more often. As well as gather more of a deep sense of joy and fulfillment from your employment.
Share with me your advice on the subject. Did I miss anything? What skill do you think you are already great at. And which one do you think you need to improve upon the most?
Looking forward to hearing from you!