Generative artificial intelligence (AI) continues to shape today’s workplaces, often making learning technical and hard skills easier. However, soft skills can’t be outsourced to AI. Soft skills are important for everyday life and can help drive your career development and growth.

A LinkedIn survey revealed that 72% of U.S. executives place more value on soft skills than AI-related skills.

It may seem like many organizations are focused on reskilling or upskilling workers, but technical expertise often is not enough to thrive. Soft skills are just as essential as hard skills. Although most people would support the idea that soft skills are inherent and cannot be taught, they can also, to a degree, be learned and nurtured over time. Here are six valuable soft skills and strategies you can use to foster them:

  1. Active listening—Active listening is more than just hearing words; it involves fully engaging with the speaker to understand their message, feelings and perspective. For example, maintain eye contact and nod to show attentiveness, ask clarifying questions and avoid interrupting the speaker.
  2. Problem-solving—Good problem solvers are always willing to learn and know there is room for improvement. They can understand an issue, rally others together and efficiently solve it.
  3. Resilience—Resilience and adaptability are essential in navigating uncertainties and setbacks, but they require patience, practice and a willingness to learn.
  4. Emotional intelligence (EQ)—EQ enables you to recognize, understand and manage your own emotions and those of others. The key elements of EQ are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. While building EQ, it’s important to ask for feedback continually to learn and grow.
  5. Communication—Effective verbal and nonverbal communication is vital to any team’s success. The words you use are important, but nonverbal communication, such as body language, facial expressions, gestures and eye contact, also significantly impacts how the message is received.
  6. Accountability—Accountability involves taking ownership of one’s actions and responsibilities. Setting goals can help you stay accountable and work to achieve something.

Takeaway

While soft skills used to be viewed as nice to have in the workplace, such human skills are in demand more than ever. Employers aren’t taking these skills for granted, as they can be critical for a successful career. Assess which soft skills you need to work on and create a development plan. If you’re a remote worker, it may seem tougher to develop these skills, so proactively seek feedback to avoid any missed opportunities to hone them.