The 12 Most Crucial Soft Skills for the Modern  Workplace

The 12 Most Crucial Soft Skills for the Modern  Workplace

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1. Work Ethic

We normally herald communication as the most important set of skills in the workplace, but we want to give props to a healthy work ethic.  This soft skill is not to be confused with overachieving, overworking, or losing your identity within your job. Instead, the value of work ethic is an umbrella for other 

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1. Work Ethic

important workplace personality traits, like teamwork, reliability, and honesty. An employee with a great work ethic keeps an eye on the parameters of their job. When there's a deadline, they can be trusted to meet it—or communicate when they can't (with an amended game plan ready to go, of course).

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2. Communication Skills

Communication soft skills are the tools you use to clearly and effectively converse with others, set expectations, and collaborate on projects. Communication skills are more than speaking or emailing. This umbrella set of interpersonal skills includes everything from collaboration to active listening. Good communication skills are absolutely crucial 

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2. Communication Skills

to any successful workplace. As such, it's imperative that leadership masters and demonstrates good behaviors around communication, including nonverbal communication, body language, listening, and understanding.

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3. Self-Motivation Skills

If you're looking for your first remote job, topics around working autonomously are going to come up in the interview process—and in the job itself. As more organizations slide into fully-remote or flexible setups, self-motivation is an increasingly crucial set of skills to master. Advice on building self-motivation is not 

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3. Self-Motivation Skills

one-size-fits-all. Knowing your greatest motivators requires knowing yourself.

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4. Problem-Solving Skills

Even with perfect communication in place, problems always can arise in the workplace. As such, problem-solving dexterity is crucial at work. Problem-solving skills are a set of soft skills to use in difficult, unexpected, or complicated matters that arise in the workplace. Whether you're an entry-level employee or 

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4. Problem-Solving Skills

a C-level executive, problem-solving skills will serve as an attractive asset to any employer. Problem-solving skills include empathy-based skills like open-mindedness and communication-based skills like listening, creativity, research, and teamwork.

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5. Flexibility

Hey there, we're back to talking about some of the soft skills that are particularly useful in a remote work situation. Before we get into flexibility as a soft skill, we want to discuss the beauty of boundaries. Sometimes, especially in job descriptions, the word "flexibility" is used to describe a rather toxic situation where an employee is expected to

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5. Flexibility

be on-call 24/7. We are not talking about that kind of flexibility. We're talking about the type of flexibility that allows for employees to use common sense to identify when something might not be working. The kind that allows you to be able to pivot and to welcome unexpected changes as positive, learning-based 

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5. Flexibility

opportunities. Flexible employees flawlessly embrace new tasks and new challenges with open-mindedness and without a big fuss. Flexibility is patience in the face of problems—like a delayed deadline, an unexpected hiccup, or a colleague unexpectedly needing guidance or assistance.

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6. Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is using creativity and foresight to achieve tasks and reach goals in the most efficient ways. Mastering critical thinking often requires a slowed-down pace, where an employee considers all parties involved and all possible outcomes before making a decision. One of the best aspects of critical thinkers in the workplace is that they 

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6. Critical Thinking Skills

typically welcome change and improvement with open arms. Critical thinking is the key to keeping any workplace at the forefront of all that's happening—or about to happen. Employers with advanced critical thinking soft skills are like a workplace crystal ball.

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7. Negotiation Skills

Ask any two-year-old about negotiation skills and they'll regale you their tales of how they got their daily fruit snacks. Where did we all lose this negotiation energy? So, no, great negotiation skills don't include a grown person throwing their body on the floor and yelling until they get what they want. However, you don't have to spend top dollar on 

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7. Negotiation Skills

an MBA to learn better negotiation skills or common negotiation tactics. Negotiation is a discussion with the objective of reaching an agreement. This discussion involves strategy, persuasion, and give and take to resolve the issue at hand in a way that both parties find adequate.

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8. Creativity Skills

When you close your eyes and think about creativity, do you see the "before" Rachael Leigh Cook from She's All That—the one with the paint-splattered overalls and (gasp!) glasses? You can ditch that image. Creativity comes from all places. Yes, graphic designers are often creative. Advertising account managers need to have creativity oozing from 

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8. Creativity Skills

their every pore. But, every profession benefits from creativity. Data Scientists are a great example of folks that use creativity in conjunction with math and analytics to create a job that is more STEAM than STEM. (The extra A is for Art!) Bringing creativity to your work is a lot like bringing critical 

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8. Creativity Skills

thinking or open-mindedness to it. What can be achieved differently? How can I approach this from a different angle? What happens if I try this like this? Think of creativity at work like looking at your job through a multi-surface prism. How many ways can you see it?

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9. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

Remember how we said that work ethic or communication would be our #1 pick for the most important soft skill in the workplace? Well, we may want to consider a three-way tie. Empathy, especially today, is of the utmost importance in the workplace. In fact, without empathy, we're virtually unable to achieve any of the 

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9. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

other soft skills we profiled so far. Creativity is basically nonexistent without empathy. Problem-solving is impossible without empathy as its guide. Diversity, inclusivity, and real belonging cannot exist without real empathy.

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10. Time Management

As we live in the age of measurable data, time management can become, well, a bit of an obsession. If you've ever worked alongside someone who flawlessly completes the same workload as you, only in half the time, you might be interested in developing this skill. Like motivation, mastering time management skills requires 

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10. Time Management

knowing yourself, how you work, what boundaries to establish, when you're the most productive, and what you can bear to lose in order to move swiftly.

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11. Organization

Have you ever opened the doors of a closet belonging to someone who is truly organized? It's a sight to behold. The workplace equivalent might be an immaculate desktop with a folder that unfurls the most organized system of folders and files. Great organization skills simply make it easier to take care of business. It's 

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11. Organization

always knowing where things are because they're impeccably labeled and filed. It's having a work schedule in place that makes it nearly impossible to miss a beat. Organization is an especially attractive skill in project management and data management roles.

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12. Confidence

Finally, the beautiful bow atop every crucial workplace soft skill is confidence.  In fact, confidence is the key to believing that you can build any (and every!) soft skill out there. Some confidence is inborn, but confidence can be built. In fact, there are proven methods to help you build your confidence from the ground up. Confidence will always ebb and flow—it's 

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12. Confidence

simply a symptom of being human—but it can always be built, brick by brick. If you're looking to build up your confidence starting right now, here are a few ideas: – Practice positive mantras—and repeat them often. – Identify and root out negative self-talk. – Learn new skills—and teach them to others.

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12. Confidence

– Give your confidence a good crunch (you'll see what we mean).

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