Top 5 soft skills you should know

Managing your time, being adaptable, and effectively communicating are just some of the ways you can succeed at work. Tom Merritt lists five important soft skills worth knowing.

Top 5 soft skills you should know Managing your time, being adaptable, and effectively communicating are just some of the ways you can succeed at work. Tom Merritt lists five important soft skills worth knowing.

Coding, API knowledge, hardware understanding--these are hard skills that most people think of when it comes to their job skills. But along with automation, soft skills are becoming increasingly important. These are people skills--both how you work with other skills and how you manage yourself. Here are five soft skills you should know.

SEE: Policy pack: Workplace ethics (TechRepublic Premium)

  1. Time management: I put this first because it's probably the soft skill most people already think about. How do you get the most out of your day? Don't think of time management as something you need to get better at someday--think about it as a core skill you need to master just like a programming language.
  2. Adaptability: What happens when a project changes goals mid-stream, a key employee leaves unexpectedly, or a supplier drops out? Being able to adapt is not something you should "just do"--it's a skill, and one you can develop and get better at.
  3. Stress management: This is one many people don't realize they can learn. It's not just about calming yourself down--though that's part of it. Managing stress can mean using it so it motivates you, without overwhelming you, and that's a skill.
  4. Communication: It's not just that you say something, it's often how you say it. Effective communication will make your day and your co-worker's day better. It's not an innate talent (as some might try to imply), but rather a skill you can improve.
  5. Conflict management: Most people want to avoid conflicts, but, if you have the skill of knowing how to deal with them, you won't worry when it's impossible or impractical to avoid conflicts and can even turn them into successes.

Hard skills are easy to automate and more erodible in value. Soft skills right now are almost impossible to mimic if you're not human, so be sure to cultivate those valuable soft skills. 

For more, check out Macy Bayern's article 10 soft skills tech pros need to land a job.

Also see

soft-skills.jpg

Image: iStockphoto/Michail_Petrov-96