9 Tips to Help You Improve Soft Skills in the Workplace

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

It's useful to possess soft skills that allow you to work well in a team and complete high-quality work. These skills may also help you adopt leadership qualities, which can sometimes lead to career advancement. Learning how to improve soft skills may help you become a well-rounded and qualified professional in your industry. In this article, we discuss why soft skills are important, then provide a list of tips to improve them.

Related: Important Soft Skills Employers in Hong Kong Look For

Why is it important to improve soft skills?

Making an effort to improve soft skills may increase your value as an employee and allow you to complete your work duties more effectively. There are a variety of soft skills that you may use in the workplace that can help you communicate easily and collaborate effectively with team members. Employers may also prefer professionals that have soft skills they can utilise to help them perform effectively in their role. Here is a list of several other reasons why it's important to improve your soft skills:

  • Achieve career advancement: You may have success in achieving career advancement by using your soft skills, as they allow you to emphasise your leadership abilities and teamwork skills. Showing that you're an effective leader may help you advance to management roles or leadership positions.

  • Improve employee relationships: By improving your soft skills, you may improve your relationship with your colleagues. This is because improved soft skills can lead to better communication, teamwork and collaboration among your team.

  • Achieve efficient operations: If a company has employees who possess a high amount of soft skills, its operations may run more efficiently. Clients may have a better experience with staff members that use soft skills, as they may use patience, compassion, empathy and problem-solving skills.

  • Develop despite lack of training: Companies rarely offer formal training for professionals to develop their soft skills. Instead, they typically provide feedback and recognise areas of improvement where professionals may develop their skills.

Related: 10 Common Employability Skills (With Definitions and Tips)

9 tips to improve soft skills

Here are several tips that can help you improve your soft skills:

1. Be open to learning

It's important to have a learning mindset when improving your soft skills. You may be unfamiliar with certain soft skills, so it's important to learn different ways that you can improve each one. By being open to learning, you may adopt specific habits or techniques that can help you develop your skill set.

2. Seek feedback from management

Management in your workplace may observe your performance and identify areas of improvement within your soft skill set. They may observe you communicating with colleagues or clients, solving problems or leading a group. Then, they can recognise areas you may improve upon to strengthen your soft skills. It may be useful to ask management for feedback regularly. Then, you can ask if they have any advice or guidance on how you can begin to improve them.

Related: 10 Examples of Positive Feedback (With Tips for Giving it)

3. Communicate often

Effective communication is a soft skill that benefits everyone in the workplace. Although you may have tasks and responsibilities that don't require the help of anyone else in the office, take the opportunities in your workplace to form relationships with those around you. Communicate often to develop this soft skill. This includes communication face-to-face, through email and in presentations to a group. Because nearly every method of communication differs from each other, it's important to communicate through various means, so your communication soft skills are more well-rounded.

When you communicate, think about how you're addressing others, how clear your message is, your body language and your tone of voice. Observe how others communicate and take tips and techniques from them to find a communication style that works for you. If you notice a specific communication style or habit that you prefer, you may adopt it into your own routine to see if it improves your skills.

Related: 10 Effective Communication Skills for Career Success

4. Perform self-reflection

Self-reflection is the practise of reviewing your behaviours and identifying specific skills or habits that may require improvement. While it's common for management or a leader in your workplace to provide you with feedback on your soft skills, you may identify your own areas of improvement before management has the chance to consult with you.

Performing self-reflection may also help you grow your awareness of your behaviours, which may allow you to fix specific habits that delay your soft skill development. For example, if you notice that you often grow impatient with customers that take a long time to make decisions, you may recognise that this behaviour keeps you from improving your soft skills like patience and empathy.

5. Focus on teamwork

When you engage in good teamwork, you show your employer that you're effective at collaborating with others. Teamwork can occur in a group setting or one-on-one with another coworker to complete a shared task. During a shared task or responsibility, allow each member of the group to contribute their share and celebrate the different skills and personalities of the group. When you emphasise teamwork, you create learning opportunities for your coworkers while also improving your own skills.

6. Build relationships

A lot of the soft skills you use in the workplace rely on the relationship you have with other employees and managers. You can build positive relationships with your coworkers by engaging in a genuine conversation about their weekend plans, family members, hobbies and interests. Try to find ways to connect with them over a shared experience. If you work in a department with multiple people, consider asking your colleagues if they might be interested in going out for a group lunch on Friday.

Stepping away from the office is a nice way to be able to connect with others on a personal level. This can assist you professionally because it gives you the chance to get to know their personality more and understand how it factors into their work ethic. Growing your relationships personally and professionally may benefit your communication skills and teamwork abilities.

7. Look for opportunities outside of your comfort zone

Try to consider a soft skill that you may feel less comfortable developing in the workplace and try to work on developing it. For example, if you tend to talk little in the workplace, then you may find communication skills challenging to improve. It's important to go outside of your comfort zone and look for opportunities that can improve the soft skills that you may use less frequently. Consider looking for leadership opportunities or collaboration projects where you can get to know other coworkers and exercise the skills that you rarely use.

8. Adopt a leadership role

To improve your leadership soft skills, consider taking on an actual leadership role in the workplace. Start by speaking with your manager or supervisor about your interests, and see if there are any opportunities to lead a project or group or even be a mentor to someone else in the workplace who has less experience. In this role, think of how you can inspire your group to do their best. Ask for your manager to consider you as an interim supervisor in the event they're out of the office for a meeting or planned vacation.

It's also possible to be a leader in building a new process, so if you have ideas on how to improve your office, think about sharing them with your manager and ask for the responsibility of determining the logistics and leading training. You may also take on an informal leadership position, where you may motivate your team members and encourage them to ask you for help. This can improve your leadership skills while demonstrating to management that you're ready for a leadership role.

Related: 10 Common Leadership Styles (Plus How to Use Them)

9. Arrive on time to work

Time management is an important soft skill that allows you to meet deadlines and prioritise tasks properly. A great way to strengthen your time management skills is to arrive on time to work consistently. To help you accomplish this, try waking up on time, planning your morning route accordingly and preparing your work clothes and materials the evening prior to your workday. By doing so, you may strengthen your organisational abilities, which can help you meet your goals and finish work on time.

Explore more articles