Soft skills help workers become more successful and enable them to help other workers become more successful.
According to the United States Department of Labor, these are the most important soft skills:
1. Communication skills enable people to say things in a way that other people can understand them and enable people to understand the things people say in response. People become more effective when they understand each other.
2. Enthusiasm & Attitude are skills that help workers enjoy the job more and help them make the job more enjoyable for their coworkers. Developing these skills requires an ongoing practice to keep a fresh, positive point of view.
3. Teamwork skills enable workers to respect the work, ideas, and opinions of other workers. In a YouTube video titled “The Myth of the Genius Programmer,” two Google engineers talk about the value of teamwork at Google. They explain that the success at Google comes from the understanding that no one person has the answer for everything.
4. Networking as a skill has many elements. A person must develop the confidence to contact and interact with other people. With the popularity of social and business websites, networking has become a popular topic and a professional way of promoting yourself and your business. The skill to network directly and through the Internet enables a person to have a career with more opportunities and more support.
5. Problem Solving & Critical Thinking is important to understanding and working with others. In a team environment, people with strong problem solving and critical thinking skills are able to see the value of their ideas and the value of the ideas of the other members of the team.
6. Professionalism is a skill that combines all the other skills into creating a person who thinks and works in the best interest of the company and the other workers.
The Department of Labor features a program for youth soft skills development. The program includes soft skills training for youth with disabilities. The program has skills training materials for workers and future workers. The program also has instructions for skills development trainers.
Although this program targets youth and disabled workers, the material is helpful for anyone interested in developing effective soft skills.
“‘Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success,”” is a curriculum developed by ODEP focused on teaching “soft” or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities. Created for youth development professionals as an introduction to workplace interpersonal and professional skills, the curriculum is targeted for youth ages 14 to 21 in both in-school and out-of-school environments. The basic structure of the program is comprised of modular, hands-on, engaging activities that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.”
For more information on ODEP program, visit the United States Department of Labor website.