There are two types of skills benefit managers should have to help a business succeed – hard and soft skills. Hard skills are usually at the top of the list managers wish to develop because they’re usually more defined, specific and can be measured. But soft skills, often considered “fluff,” are just as important to business success, according to a recent Employee Benefit News article by Sharlyn Lauby, who compiled the following list of soft skills managers should help employees hone.

  1. Self-awareness
    As the starting point to build on other skills, self-awareness allows employees to better understand their working relationships with others.
  2. Communication
    As technology has exploded, a myriad of mediums have been created that allow for some sort of communication – texting, phone calls, Facebook messaging, etc. Communication has to be done properly, and that means using the right medium for the message alongside crafting the message so it is heard by the intended audience.
  3. Listening (and accepting feedback)
    While multi-tasking is an accepted way of life, sometimes multi-tasking isn’t appropriate or effective. We improve our listening skills by focusing.
  4. Networking
    To be successful, networking is a must-have skill. Networking skills are used both internally and externally, and with good networking skills, employees are able to ask for the necessary information and help when needed.
  5. Collaboration
    Some employees thrive working in groups, but there are many that also excel working alone. However, there are times when a project will require teamwork.
  6. Meeting management
    It’s important to be able manage meetings – as both a meeting leader and participant. Learning how to make meetings more effective will contribute to a company’s success.
  7. Conflict resolution
    As companies operate on a leaner workforce, managers and HR don’t have the time to always mediate conflicts. Everyone’s plates are full, and employees need to learn to resolve their own conflicts.
  8. Problem solving
    Companies expect employees to share their thoughts about how to solve problems. Even if solution presented isn’t adopted, it likely started the conversation.
  9. Stress management
    A lack of work-life balance and burnout are common threads in the modern workforce and it can sometimes take more than a vacation to fix an ongoing problem. Employees should be aware of what they find stressful at work and look for ways to alleviate it.
  10. Time management
    One way to control stress is to control time. Learning how to effectively manage your time can have a huge impact on productivity and the number of hours spent on work.
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