Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash
We are in the midst of the automation era. More and more skills are being automated by computers, costing people their jobs. But not all is bad—not all skills lend themselves to automation. In fact, there are a number of skills that will prevent you from losing your job to automation.
We’ve all heard it before; the increase in technology is going to lead to more automation, and therefore, job loss. That being said, there is one thing that saves jobs: personal connection and the human element. It is something that can’t be automated. Even the best artificial intelligence can’t replicate unique human abilities and personal connection skills.
Soft skills make us human.
What are soft skills?
Simply put, soft skills, often called people skills or emotional intelligence, refer to interpersonal communication. These are personal attributes that can affect personal connection, relationships, communication, and interaction with others. Examples include:
- Customer service
- Conflict resolution
To begin, soft skills are important to develop because they are an essential part of finding, attracting, and retaining clients. These help you win new clients and gain more work from existing clients. Honing your abilities to resolve conflicts, solve problems, and provide excellent customer service can lead to stronger personal connections with colleagues, vendors, and partners.
A lack of these skills can limit your potential and can lead to the downfall of your business. By developing strong leadership, teamwork, and communication, you can run projects more effectively and deliver results that please everyone.
The Benefit of Soft Skills
Well-rounded and highly-developed soft skills can be invaluable to business success. However, they can at times be more difficult to develop than hard skills, even though they are equally as important to business success.
Soft skills enable you to excel as a leader. Leadership skills such as problem solving, delegating, motivating, and team building are all much easier if you have good soft skills. Knowing how to get along with people and displaying a positive attitude will take you and your business far.
The importance is often undervalued and there is far less training provided for than hard skills. However, businesses just assume people know how to behave on the job. Assuming these skills are universal leads to frustration. At any rate, that’s why it’s so hard to focus as much on soft skills training and development as you do on traditional hard skills.
Do you have a soft skills gap?
Specifically, a gap is experienced when a workforce has a lot of technical skills but lacks soft skills to create personal connection. These skills accompany hard skills, helping your organization use its technical expertise to full advantage.
If you experience any of the following, then you might have a soft skills gap:
- Good at getting clients, and not so good at retaining them
- Staff turnover and have to keep retraining people
- Lots of managers but no real leaders
In fact, whenever you are unable to capitalize on the wealth of knowledge, experience, and proficiency within your team, you should be assessing the level of communication, personal connection and interpersonal skills present in your organization.
The workplace has developed an interpersonal dynamic that can’t be ignored. Acts of listening, presenting ideas, resolving conflict, and fostering an open and honest work environment all come down to knowing how to build and maintain relationships with people. It’s those relationships that allow people to participate fully in team projects, show appreciation for others, and enlist support for their projects.
How do you develop soft skills?
Developing soft skills is a crucial step in personal and professional development. To start, you need to recognize and acknowledge the areas in which you need to improve. You can start with a personal reflection and introspection, an evaluation of your business’s performance deficiencies.
Once you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you can create a plan of action for improvement. This needs to align with and support your business and communication plan. Because soft skills encompass a large category, there are a number of ways to enhance these skills. Working with a mentor is one way to gather feedback while having a personal connection analysis done can produce a plan to improve communication.
Further, don’t underestimate the effect of positivity and optimism. The majority of these skills are enhanced via confidence and enthusiasm. Changing your mindset so you are able to see the positive in the situation can have a significant impact on how you interact with others.
When you take the time to develop your soft skills, you not only improve your personal connection with others, but you can also save yourself from automation.