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.
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:
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
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