Life Work

Soft skills you need to succeed in the office

May 15, 2018

When you start your career, you are most likely  aware of the ‘hard’ skills you need, such as typing, computer skills and accounting skills. These are tangible, teachable skills that relate to your career choice.

An aspect that many young professionals forget about is the fact that you also need soft skills to succeed in the office. These include effective communication capabilities, interpersonal skills and problem-solving abilities. If you are still unsure about what soft skills are, outlined below are just some you will need to succeed in the office.


One soft skill that many employers look for is relatability. Almost 78 percent of employers look for people who can work easily in a team and who get along well with their colleagues. You will need to display attributes such as openness, availability and empathy in order to be a relatable employee.

If you are closed off, your colleagues will be on the defensive and will find it uncomfortable to work with you, making teamwork and the acceptance of your ideas more difficult. You can build on your reliability by reading up on empathy, practising listening to your colleagues and by always being authentic to your employers and your fellow workers. Authenticity gains trust which provides a better working environment.

Effective communication skills

Effective communication in the office is of vital importance, no matter your role or your status. You will need to be able to communicate verbally and via writing in order to get your point across in meetings and in general.

Communication in the office involves more than just formal memos and meetings, it involves building rapport, listening to your colleagues and providing conversation that is meaningful and relevant. Being able to communicate clearly and effectively is a skill that every employer looks for in their staff, and you can take courses in communication to build these skills, helping your chances of getting hired.

Creative thinking

Creative thinking may not sound like something an accountant or financial advisor would need but it is important for whatever position you are in. This is because creative thinking involves problem-solving, a skill that allows you to think on your feet in times of stress.

Creative thinkers are also resourceful, able to work with what they have rather than panicking about what they lack. This is especially useful in the creative industry, such as for digital marketing firms who have a PR disaster on their hands or graphic designers who do not have enough images for a project. Being able to work innovatively with what you have a soft skill that will take you far in the workplace.

You can work unsupervised

Being able to work on your own, without much supervisions, is another soft skill that employers look for. Your boss will most likely not have the time to check in with you at all times of the day and will expect you to be able to continue on your own.

Working independently makes you an indispensable employee, as it means that you can take the initiative and figure out problems on your own without the need for  hand-holding from your supervisors. Without self-motivation or initiative, you will not be able to reach your highest potential, and your employers will take note of these attributes too when it comes to promotions. Taking the initiative also means that you are able to manage your own time and schedule without too much direction.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence means that you have the capacity to be aware of, and have control over your emotions. You also know how to  handle interpersonal relationships diplomatically and empathetically. In today’s more interpersonal business world, having emotional intelligence is vital to the success of any employee.

If you are emotionally intelligent, you are able to think about your feelings before acting on them, it means that you have self- and social awareness. You strive to control your thoughts, actions and emotions and are able to handle criticism with dignity and with introspection rather than going on the defensive. An emotionally intelligent employee often brings up the morale in the office, making it an invaluable soft skill to have.

Leadership skills

Having leadership skills means you have hit the ‘jackpot’ of soft skills. Leadership qualities include being able to motivate others (even if you are not their manager), providing positive feedback for successful projects, collaborating with team members to set company goals and encouraging other employees to be comfortable in expressing themselves.

Leadership skills are what most employers are looking for in their staff, but if you do not feel as though you have them you can look into courses that will help you. Being a leader means that you are able to do more than simply tell people what to do, you should be able to build rapport with your colleagues and exchange ideas in a diplomatic and creative way.


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