Soft Skills Matter

Soft Skills Matter

Soft Skills Matter


Soft skills (sometimes referred as “human skills”) is what we refer to when something falls outside of the scope of what is needed to execute the technology necessary to deliver the product. These non-technical abilities and personal attributes are what enable individuals to effectively interact and communicate with others in the workplace. While technical skills are essential for performing specific tasks related to technology and software development, soft skills focus on interpersonal and social capabilities that contribute to teamwork, collaboration, and overall professional success.

Common examples of soft skills that I’ve experienced as a brand strategy consultant include:

Communication: The ability to convey information clearly, listen actively, and express ideas effectively to team members, clients, and stakeholders.

Collaboration: The capacity to work well with others, actively contribute to team efforts, and foster a cooperative and inclusive environment.

Problem-solving: The skill to identify and analyze problems, think critically, and generate innovative solutions, often through a logical and structured approach.

Adaptability: The willingness and ability to adjust to changing circumstances, learn new technologies and processes, and embrace evolving industry trends.

Emotional intelligence: The aptitude to recognize, understand, and manage one’s emotions and empathize with others, fostering healthy working relationships and resolving conflicts.

Leadership: The ability to inspire and motivate others, provide guidance and direction, and facilitate the achievement of shared goals within a team or organization.

Time management: The capability to prioritize tasks, manage workloads efficiently, meet deadlines, and maintain productivity in a fast-paced tech environment.

Creativity: The capacity to think outside the box, generate innovative ideas, and approach problems with a fresh perspective, often leading to novel solutions.

Presentation skills: The ability to effectively present ideas, projects, or solutions to both technical and non-technical audiences, utilizing appropriate visual aids and communication techniques.

Networking: The skill to build and maintain professional relationships, establish connections, and leverage personal networks to enhance career opportunities and knowledge sharing.

As you can see, soft skills are infused into day-to-day business operations. Their influence cannot be ignored in daily workplace functions. Employees who can navigate workplace drama while still meeting their goals are considered valuable. Managers spend 25%-40% of their week handling conflicts. Employees who reduce conflict by leaning on their soft skills training can help save managers time resolving conflicts, making them more valuable to the company. Certainly, there are times when managers should step in, but oftentimes, minor conflicts can be resolved by employees in the moment, preventing them from escalating into a larger issue.

Here are five reasons why practicing soft skills is important:

  1. Skill development: Communication, leadership, negotiation, and empathy, are not purely theoretical concepts that can be fully grasped just by reading about them. They require practical application and practice to develop proficiency. Role-playing workplace scenarios provides a safe and controlled environment to practice these skills, allowing individuals to gain firsthand experience, receive feedback, and refine their abilities.
  2. Muscle memory: Soft skills are not just intellectual knowledge, but also require “muscle memory.” By role-playing conflict solutions, individuals develop muscle memory, which helps them develop automatic and instinctive responses in real-life situations. This allows them to be less reactive and more proactive when difficult conversations happen. 
  3. Confidence building: Confidence in your technical abilities is great but if that doesn’t extend to your confidence as a communicator then opportunities can be lost and may have an adverse impact on your and the company’s goals. As individuals practice and see positive outcomes from their role-play scenarios, they gain confidence in their abilities, which translates into increased self-assurance in real-life situations. This enhanced confidence allows individuals to handle challenging situations with composure and professionalism.
  4. Adaptability: Soft skills are versatile and context-dependent. Role-playing using improv allows individuals to practice adapting their soft skills to different situations, audiences, and cultural contexts. It helps them develop the ability to apply their skills flexibly and effectively in diverse real-world scenarios, which is crucial in today’s dynamic and fast-paced business environment.
  5. Relationship building: Soft skills are often critical in building relationships, whether it’s with team members, clients, or stakeholders. Role-playing provides opportunities to practice relationship-building skills, such as active listening, empathy, and effective communication, which are fundamental for fostering positive connections and rapport with others.

While technical expertise is crucial in the tech industry, possessing strong soft skills can greatly enhance an individual’s ability to collaborate, lead teams, communicate complex concepts, and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of technology businesses.