Top Soft Skills to Enhance if You Want to be Mega Productive
We’ve already discussed various techniques of how to be more productive in the workplace whilst still having enough time for your personal life. However, we haven’t yet told you what soft skills to improve to make your effectiveness as natural as it was built-in by default.
Once you take some time to upgrade these 10 skills, being the first and the best at work, won’t seem such an unachievable goal!
#1 — Self-motivation
The strongest motivation always comes with passion. Loving your job is an enormous source of inspiration. What distinguishes well-known businesspeople is that they have incentives to work, meaningful to themselves. They don’t wait until an opportunity comes, they are loyal to what they are fond of and continue with the things they love. They work from passion.
For example, Elon Musk once said: “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” Here is what Richard Branson thinks: “There is no greater thing you can do, with your life and your work, than follow your passions — in a way that serves the world and you.”
So, find those important things that you’re passionate about. This will drive motivation so that you won’t need any external stimulus for achieving better results. Even if you don’t like the task itself, find value in it — a new experience, improving skills, establishing new contacts, etc.
#2 — Communication & negotiation
Social skills cannot be underestimated nowadays. Communication starts even before the job interview! If your negotiation skills are strong enough, you may even get an offer despite your lack of specific expertise. Sure, you’ll need to improve your knowledge in those areas, but great communication skills might demonstrate your thinking style and potential to HR.
No doubt, negotiation skills are a must-have for people of specific professions such as sales managers, PR specialists, call-center operators, and many others. However, if you’re dealing with computer systems, it doesn’t mean you won’t communicate with your colleagues. The least you’ll have to do is to convey the sense of your requests to others so that there is no miscommunication.
To improve these skills, just practice! Talk to more people, analyse their behaviour, enlarge your vocabulary, see what works better and change your communication strategy appropriately.
For more on this, check out our hacks for improving communication within a company. It will be extremely useful for everyone who works in a team.
#3 — Emotional awareness and empathy
No one can be absolutely positive all the time. Sometimes we have a bad mood that can affect our productivity and decision-making. Being aware of what causes frustration or stress can help you overcome the feeling and maintain high performance. Acknowledging this will allow you to distance the feeling from your work. If you can’t deal with the issue immediately, you can at least now put them aside as you return your focus to your tasks.
Speaking of emotions, you may be interested in understanding what others feel and if they are having a bad day. This will empower you to see the real causes for the colleagues’ actions, understand different viewpoints and come to a common decision faster. Try to analyse teammates’ decisions and their logic. This will help you work in synergy.
#4 — Responsibility
It’s human nature to feel afraid of responsibility. When we bare it, this means we’re taking obligations we must meet later, and there’s no way back.
When you find yourself holding responsibility for handling some difficult task, frustration can be normal. The task may require more effort or resources you don’t possess. Try to break it into smaller pieces and think about who can help you with achieving the final objective, or what knowledge, skills or tools you may need.
Finding the right approach shows that there are no impossible tasks. There is only a lack of resources. Replenishing these resources will take fear away from responsibility.
#5 — Decisiveness and Problem-solving
This is very similar to our previous point. Decisiveness means that you are ready to take responsibility for your decisions. This also implies inner courage and self-confidence. However, in any company, people who are ready to solve problems and not create them will be always in demand. Knowing how to solve issues frees time in your daily routine for creative work.
To develop these skills, you need to practice regularly. Confidence doesn’t come overnight. Research data about the issue, find out what you’re lacking in order to solve it and define strategy and tactics. At this point, you are ready to create a to-do list of baby steps. Also, don’t be shy to show your plans and discuss decisions made with the team or company leaders. At least, if they don’t work for them, you’ll gain knowledge and experience …..and save time!
#6 — Leadership
Not everyone wants to be a leader; nevertheless, nurturing this soft skill is beneficial for anyone and everyone. You can lead teammates by example in many ways. It’s not only the team leader who cares about the whole team. Every person within it should be motivating and supporting.
Improving your leadership skills is not about being a big boss. It is about inspiring others and not being shy to demonstrate your strategies and results to the team. If you share your creative ideas with others, exchange feedback, help to create trustworthy relationships, you are engaging with your work and team.
Participation is taking responsibility for your work and enables your colleagues to do the same. You will be translating best practices to those around you.
#7 — Flexibility and Adaptability
In the modern world, everything changes so fast that it’s impossible to stand still for even a minute! That’s why flexibility and adaptability are so important. Companies are constantly evolving their workplaces, tools and software, task procedures, and so on. It’s essential that every team member adapts to innovation as fast as their daily flow allows it.
- Do you struggle to keep up with changes? First, learn to say “Yes” to new things. Start with ordinary things — change your common route to the office or drink juice instead of coffee. This will help you discover that there are pleasant and fascinating options outside your habitual choices.
- Next, focus on the benefits that changes can bring. If they are not obvious, reach for people’s reviews or read overviews of new tools and services.
- If it’s hard to switch to a new tool, explore built-in guides or manuals on YouTube. The same can be said about any new approach or task at work. Someone will have already tried it out somewhere, and more often than not, an article, blog post or video documenting their experience can be found online. Learn from them!
#8 — Stress tolerance
Tight deadlines, great responsibility, changing requirements and other work matters can cause heightened stress. We can’t help that but can respond to these factors with a greater sense of calm. They say, if you can’t change the reality, start with your approach.
There are two useful tips we can share:
- When an upcoming task makes you nervous, break it into parts to see that they are all achievable and simple.
- If the deadline is too close, and you have plenty of work, seek help from colleagues or negotiate on extending the deadlines to a realistic date.
Check out our tips for avoiding stress and keeping calm — they work for both your office and personal life, so check them out! ;)
#9 — Teamwork
Today, you rarely see someone working on their own. Teams allow us to distribute the roles of each participant in the process, which leads to better and faster results.
Understanding the dynamics and structure of your team will help you succeed in your role within it. Understanding your role in relation to others removes an unnecessary sense of solo responsibility. This supports your own focus and helps you to realise your potential in the workplace.
At the same time, although well-coordinated teamwork implies possible merging of expertise, it is always worth remembering that your colleagues are professionals in their area. Unnecessary recommendations may interfere with sound practice. Balance is crucial.
#10 — Organisation
Disorganised workspace, be it physical or digital, is hazardous when it comes to time management. Mess can cause delay. Instead of completing tasks quickly and efficiently, you might spend time searching through mountains of documents for the necessary information.
Working like this often leads to other things being missed or forgotten about — like that emergency meeting or conference call!
So, it’s nice to:
- Have a schedule of everything you need to do. Notifications in the calendar won’t let you miss anything important. Also, you’ll be able to view the scope of work to be done, adjusting deadlines where necessary.
- Documents should have their place in appropriately labelled folders so that the search doesn’t steal your time.
- Confidential documents shouldn’t be mixed with other files, and better to keep them in folders with set access levels.
We’ve already shared several useful tips for organising desks and digital offices! There are a lot of them, but believe us, once you develop a habit of ordering everything from the very beginning, you won’t waste time wading through the rubble of documents!
In conclusion, we’d like to highlight that all these tips won’t work if you are not going to practice them. It is a muscle to be built up over time. It is much like what actors do to get rid of the fear of the audience — they go on stage, despite their emotions, and try to play roles naturally. Over time, the fear becomes less and less, and although it does not disappear completely, such conditions become familiar and less unsettling. That’s why we believe that even introverts can overcome extroverts in negotiation, and even the most seemingly absent-minded person can put everything in perfect order!