Craft Focus - October/November 2022 (Issue 93)

90 Soft skills for business When we think about the skills we look for in our employees, that are important to our business, we often look at what our team has in abundance or we identify a particular gap, to look for skills that your business desperately needs, soft skills are sometimes overlooked. This is surprising because soft skills are transferable across each and every profession, regardless of the job role or industry. Soft skills aren’t learned from a degree, course, or qualification. Instead, they’re personal attributes, gained from experience that are very important components of what makes a fantastic team. For anyone who hasn’t heard the term before, soft skills can be everything from emotional intelligence or social awareness, to time keeping and how we work together in our teams. Here are just a few of the crucial soft skills that we see in action every day. Social skills From the ability to communicate with other members of the team effectively and other teams from across the business, to talking directly with a customer, social skills are a vital soft skill. Business leaders need to know that their company is being well-represented externally, while also having confidence in their employees’ ability to work in their teams just as effectively as they can work alone. Empathy is another social skill that is crucial to a supportive workforce. As both a business leader and colleague it’s a powerful tool to possess, enabling us to weigh up how a particular project or announcement will be received by team members. Being empathetic also allows us to understand the challenges a colleague may be going through in their professional or personal life. Growth mindset Finding people who are naturally motivated to better themselves and develop their own skills is something that can be encouraged through a supportive and happy workplace, but not taught. People who possess a natural growth mindset are more likely to be creative, think outside of the box and be solutiongivers, adapting to a problem, rather than presenting a more defeatist attitude. Time keeping Timekeeping and punctuality are extremely important. They allow us to depend on people to show up to work and attend meetings with their colleagues on time, while also putting faith in them to deliver work efficiently for important projects with a deadline. Listening skills Regardless of your role, good listening skills are a significant soft skill to have, it enables us to carefully understand instructions and to act on constructive feedback. Whilst actively listening to other colleagues helps to strengthen relationships within the team it can solve problems or stop them from happening again in future. Ultimately, giving people our undivided attention and listening to what’s being said can help people to learn. All things considered, soft skills are hugely important in the workplace and are something all employers should be mindful of when making new additions to the team. If a candidate seems like a motivated, emotionally intelligent person with great social skills and a fantastic listener who has shown up on time, then you could be onto a winner! Sara Davies discusses the importance of soft skills to your business Sara Davies MBE is founder of Crafter’s Companion.