Soft Skills

Soft skills describe the character of a person, his or her ways of acting and dealing with other people. They reflect both weaknesses and strengths. Employers are attaching more and more importance to soft skills.

Examples of soft skills

Ability to work in a team: Teamwork is social competence and means that team members contribute their competencies and communicate with other team members at eye level, make their own constructive suggestions and discuss joint solution strategies objectively.

Communication skills: Communication skills are understood to mean being able to communicate clearly and distinctly and to interpret messages correctly, including facial expressions, gestures and posture.

Conflict management skills: Conflicts of interest arise not only in private but also in professional contexts. Those who are able to deal with conflict remain objective in a conflict of interest, listen to the other person's arguments and try to find a solution or compromise together. The ability to deal with conflict also means having a sense of emerging conflicts and defusing or suppressing them before they erupt.

Solution competence: Digitalisation and globalisation are making work processes increasingly dynamic. Short-term strategy changes and project adjustments are therefore the order of the day. Those who act with solution competence analyse problem areas, weigh risks, remain optimistic and find new solutions together with the team.

Flexibility: Flexible employees are open to changes and try to work out alternative courses of action at short notice.

Negotiating skills: Negotiating skills describe the ability to articulate one's own interests and points of view skillfully. Furthermore, negotiation skills describe the ability to find compromises in order to reach an acceptable result for both parties.

Empathy: People who are empathic have the ability to put themselves in other people's shoes. In everyday work, empathic people have an advantage. They can recognise the sensitivities and intentions of team members early on and react accordingly.

Ability to accept criticism: People who are able to accept criticism, provided it is justified derive improvements from it. This ability is important not only in a private but also in a professional context in order to be able to develop further.

Structured way of working: Time pressure is an essential factor in today's working world. It is ,therefore, all the more important to organise oneself and one's tasks well and to set priorities.


Which soft skills are important?

According to a study conducted by LinkedIn and Bitkom Research, cross-functional skills, as well as conversation and negotiation skills, will become increasingly important in the coming years. However, which soft skills are important in individual cases also depends to a certain extent on one's own profession.

Why are soft skills important in everyday working life?

Instead of rigid hierarchical work structures, project-based work processes are becoming more and more important. Changes and new requirements must be met flexibly. Social skills such as team spirit, problem-solving skills and creative thinking are therefore indispensable for the success of a company.

Which soft skills are in demand among HR managers?

Which soft skills are in demand varies from country to country. According to a 2017 cross-national analysis of 31 million job advertisements by the meta-search engine Joblift, team spirit is particularly in demand in Germany. In France, on the other hand, it is independence and in the Netherlands, adaptability.

What soft skills should a manager have?

To achieve common goals, leaders should be communicative and empathetic, i.e. they should formulate messages clearly and interpret those of their employees skillfully. Furthermore, leaders should be able to motivate and work in a team-oriented manner, as well as demonstrate assertiveness and organisational skills.