Soft Skills You Need to Achieve Career Success

Soft Skills You Need to Achieve Career Success

Hard skills can be quantified and advanced. For instance, you can learn advanced mathematics or writing skills. But when it comes to soft skills, it is not as straightforward. While you need hard skills to land a job, you need soft skills to progress in your career.

So, here is a list of the soft skills that are most critical to building a successful career.

Soft Skills You Need to Achieve Career Success

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage your emotions and the emotions of others. It is made up of the following elements:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social skill

In the context of the workplace, emotional intelligence boils to a few key abilities. These include

  • recognizing and regulating your emotions and reactions in the workplace
  • being able to build rapport and positive relationships with other people
  • ability to empathize with others
  • being able to give and receive effective, constructive feedback

While this might not sound like the most important skill for career success, but it is very important.

Openness to Feedback

Being open and able to receive development feedback is critical to success at a job. As you probably know, constructive feedback helps you do the best job you can. However, if you take it personally or react defensively, you won’t be able to hear the feedback and adapt it to your current strategy.

So, the key to giving and receiving feedback is to come into the conversation with an open mind. You are not receiving constructive feedback because that person hates you personally. Rather, it is because they want you to be the best you can be. If you don’t feel comfortable with feedback yet, try immersion therapy. You can try to make feedback a part of your daily to-do list.

Team Player Attitude

Whether you are an individual contributor or a people manager, you have to work with other people. This can be in meetings and / or on various cross-functional projects within your company. A positive, can-do attitude when it comes to working with others is essential to team harmony. This allows you to be able to run an effective and inclusive meeting, be open to new ideas, and work respectfully with others.

Active Listening

Most people can tell the difference between when someone is hearing words they are saying and when they are actively listening to what they are saying. If someone is typing while you are presenting at a meeting or even looking away, they probably are not really hearing what you are saying.

On the other hand, active listeners pay close attention to meeting presenters, offer up clarifying questions or responses, and can, sometimes, refer back to notes in future discussions. They do not need things repeated to them because they heard them the first time. This, therefore, makes active listeners not only respectful colleagues, but more effective workers too.


No matter what your role is, the ability to adapt to change goes a long way toward growing a successful career. Whether it is a seat shuffle or a huge company pivot, nobody likes a complainer. So, it is important not only to accept change as a fact of life in the constantly-evolving business world, but also as an opportunity to try out new strategies for thriving in environments of change.

If you do not feel comfortable with frequent changes, write down your feelings and reactions, instead of immediately voicing them. By laying out how you feel and why you feel a certain way, you will be able to distinguish legitimate concerns from complaints that might not need to be discussed with your team.

Work Ethic

You cannot succeed in a role without being willing to put in the time and effort required to hit your goals. If you want to get a new job or get promoted, it is essential that you hone your work ethic. So, put in the extra time you need to succeed. Also, if succeeding means learning new skills, dedicate time to learning those outside of work hours.

While these soft skills are harder to teach, the payoff might be even bigger. So, make sure you are investing time and effort into auditing and improving your soft skill set.

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