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Soft Skills Mastery 2024: Navigating the Future Workplace

Soft Skills: Brief Overview

It's been nearly a month since 2024 started, and if there's one word buzzing around, it's "goals." Setting up goals, whether they're for learning, professional growth, or personal development, has become the mantra of the new year. We've all come across reels and stories guiding us to set up those goals, not to mention countless articles preaching the crucial hard skills for specific roles. But here's the thing – in our quest to figure out what to do, we often forget about how to do it. That's where soft skills come into play.

Let's face it – work isn't a straightforward checklist. You don't wake up, make a to-do list, check everything off, and call it a day. More often than not, that to-do list goes out the window as unexpected tasks come your way. Adaptation becomes key, social interactions become the norm, and knowing how precedes knowing what. Because, at the end of the day, mastering the 'how' is what makes your daily routine not just doable but successful. So, let's go through a few of these soft skills that you might want to develop or strengthen this year.

Choose your Soft Skills

In 2023, skills changed a lot because of technology, the economy, and society. We all noticed a big shift and more focus on developing new skills. This LinkedIn article summarized the major trends of 2023, highlighting a rising demand for digital skills such as data analysis and AI, as well as a growing emphasis on soft skills like adaptability and effective communication. Moreover, companies have been paying attention to having a diverse and inclusive workspace, and they have focused more on keeping information private, being environmentally friendly, and keeping employees motivated.

One of the trends in 2024 will be integrating learning into the flow of work, and it's a principle we believe in. What does that mean? It means getting people into a productive state more quickly by teaching them what they need to know from the start. This involves identifying teaching moments to deliver bite-sized information targeted specifically. So what skills would you need to align with this workplace trend?

Firstly, curiousity, to maintain a keen interest in acquiring specific knowledge relevant to your immediate tasks and responsibilities. Secondly, tech literacy, because you need to familiarize yourself with the technologies facilitating in-the-flow learning, such as intelligent learning systems and immersive technologies. And don't forget adaptability. More often than not, you might need to step into other people's roles at short notice. Whether you receive a quick briefing from the person leaving or from the organization, you need to be adaptable enough to know how to put it into practice.

Another aspect that defines the current workplace is the urgency of upskilling and reskilling. As you might know, uppskilling is all about learning new things to move up in your current job, while reskilling is about learning stuff that lets you switch to a new job. Now that we are on the same page, let’s see what soft skills might be needed here.

Curiosity and adaptability are essential here too, mainly because you have to be flexible and open to change as you navigate the process of acquiring new skills, as well as staying curious and fueling your desire to explore and understand new areas. Agility is also an important soft skill, because in the process of upskilling or reskilling, you have to quickly respond to evolving situations, ensuring a smooth transition as you develop new abilities. 

Now, let's explore a list of soft skills that are occasionally underestimated but hold significant importance:

  • Cultural Intelligence: The ability to understand and navigate different cultural norms and perspectives effectively. This is becoming increasingly important, as many working environments often integrate people from various cultures, religions, and so on.
  • Tolerance for Ambiguity: Comfort and effectiveness in situations where information or outcomes are not clear-cut. You probably know what this means, and you have even practiced it in certain situations. For example, when you were assigned a task with minimal information on its context or how to do it. And yet, you probably accomplished it. 
  • Cognitive Flexibility: Quickly adapting to changing circumstances and shifting between different tasks or ways of thinking. This is how we started this article, by noting that the workday is usually not a smooth check of a to-do list. You usually get interrupted and have to refocus on something more urgent, which requires this soft skill. 
  • Storytelling: Effectively communicating ideas and information through compelling narratives. You surely know that we are all exposed to tons of information every day, which makes most of us not really listen to what others are saying. So, storytelling is an essential skill to possess when trying to make yourself actively listened to.
  • Emotional Regulation: Managing and controlling one's emotions in high-pressure or emotionally charged situations. I think this one is quite straightforward for anyone working in stressful environments, isn’t it?

And these aren't the only soft skills out there. You likely find yourself using different soft skills in various moments throughout your work and personal day—handling situations, interacting with everyone, and getting creative. Our suggestion? Pay attention to these skills and make the most of them. If you're more focused on hard skills than soft skills, consider which soft skills would complement them well.

Some (final) thoughts

If you want a place where you and your teams can practice and learn, we'd love to chat. We can provide the learning infrastructure and all the tools you need to dive into the training journey.

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