How to Develop Soft Skills

by Kathy Adams McIntosh; Updated September 26, 2017

Soft skills benefit everyone in the workplace and in their personal relationships. Employees who use soft skills as they interact with others create feelings of respect with the other person. Soft skills include listening, critical thinking, punctuality and flexibility, and in general those interpersonal skills that allow others to approach you with workplace issues. Most employees use some soft skills on a regular basis and lack others. For example, an employee may have good writing skills but lack a cooperative attitude. These employees will benefit in their career and personal lives as they develop their soft skills.

Step 1

Attend a formal class. Local colleges and training companies offer formal classes to assist participants in developing soft skills. Each class focuses on a specific skill, such as effective communication. Most classes introduce theories to the students along with different approaches. Instructors often ask students to role play different scenarios as they practice applying soft skills.

Step 2

Write down two key concepts. Throughout the day, make notes that you can incorporate to improve your own soft skills. At the conclusion of the class, review the notes you made. Choose two ideas that best fit your need for improvement, and commit to practicing these ideas as often as possible.

Step 3

Display the concepts that you wrote down in a highly visible area. Write these two concepts down on individual sheets of paper. Decorate each sheet to make it fun to look at. Hang these sheets up around your desk and your home. Whenever you look at these papers, think of ways to practice these concepts. As you think about ways to practice these concepts, you will increase your likelihood of performing these skills.

Step 4

Enlist confidantes. Identify coworkers and friends to hold you accountable as you develop your soft skills. Consider your relationship with these people and how much you trust each person. Ask each one to pull you aside when they see you display the soft skill you are working on and when you don’t.

Step 5

Evaluate your progress. At the conclusion of the class, write down a self-evaluation of your soft skills. Choose milestone dates following the conclusion of the class, such as three months or six months. Review your self-evaluation and compare those notes to your current skill level.