Soft Skills In The Workplace

Soft Skills In The Workplace

A couple of years ago, employers were only interested in a prospective employee's intellectual quotient (IQ). These days, employers realise that the success of an employee is not based entirely on their IQ, but that their emotional quotient (EQ) also plays a significant role in employee and company success.

Your EQ is one of the soft skills which many employers specify in their job requirements. Some of these might look familiar to you:

  • Must be able to work independently as well as in a team.
  • Must be self-driven.
  • This position will suit someone very organised.
  • The successful incumbent must be able to manage his/her own time effectively.
  • Must have excellent written and communication skills.
  • Ability to work under pressure.
  • Entrepreneurial thinking.

I am taking communication as an example, qualified financial managers will have the technical or hard financial skills required to do the job, but not all of them will have the same proficiency in communicating so as to inspire a healthy team dynamic and inspire a motivated team.

EQ is especially vital within a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) where employees need to be more flexible in their nature of work and where the team dynamic is essential. 

READ: Soft Skills Make Graduates More Employable


What are soft skills, and how do you identify which ones you have?

Soft skills defined

Soft skills are a combination of people skills, social skills, communication skills, character traits, attitudes, career attributes, social and emotional intelligence quotients that enable people to work within various environments effectively.

Here are just a few examples of soft skills:

  • Effective communication
  • The ability to manage time well
  • Taking responsibility for your and the teams' actions
  • Practical thinking
  • Compassion
  • Emotional maturity
  • Empathy for others

They are those skills inherent to who you are as well as those you have learnt through experience over time. It is only natural that there are specific soft skills which parents and particularly moms have learnt through experience, like patience and emotional maturity.


How to identify your soft skills when applying for a job

Self-awareness is vital to enable you to know yourself and your strengths. You can become self-aware through self-reflection and by asking your close friends and family what they observe to be your soft skills.

You can also reflect upon some behavioural characteristics that you have shown in your place of work:  How do you handle a situation of conflict with management or peers? How do you feel and what action do you take when you are overlooked or unfairly treated?  What do you describe as a great accomplishment - why did you identify that particular example as a great accomplishment?

There are amazing tools out there which you can use to get to know yourself better. For instance, the Gallop Strength Finder test and the Discovery Insights are some trusted tools to help you identify your strengths and soft skills. There are free online tests you can complete but beware of the free tests offered on social media that classify you as a type of mythical creature based on the month you were born or on the first letter of your name.


Getting to know yourself better and being aware of your soft skills is essential when entering the job market, but more than that, it is valuable to know yourself and your strengths. We all have unique soft skills and being mindful about them can help you embrace your skills with confidence, and it can help guide you in seeing which job opportunity is best suited to you.

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