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There is a growing need for people to develop their soft skills to successfully compete in the workplace. Employers look beyond the obvious hard skills that are necessary for a job and value mastery in areas of communication, teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, time management and conflict resolution. A lifetime of habits and attitudes can be difficult to change, but it can be done. The first hurdle is identifying the weak areas one wants to improve. There are serval ways for a person to improve their soft skills.

Take a Class

Many local colleges and worker training organizations offer classes and workshops for enhancing communication, leadership and other important skills. There are also a variety of online courses that make learning easy and convenient. Websites like LinkedIn Learning, edX, Udemy and Coursera offer courses in a variety of topics.

Download an App

There are apps available for helping with time management, leadership development and a plethora of other subjects. There are apps, like Daily Leadership Coaching, that deliver tips and challenges to improve leadership.

Find a Coach

Getting a leadership coach provides more personal one-on-one counseling than taking a class. This route is customized to an individual’s needs and provides direct feedback. Although costing more, it may be more effective.

Keep a Journal

Journaling can also be helpful to some people. Writing down situations or events to look back at them, can help as one thinks about ways that they could be handled. The key is to be observant and learn from mistakes to grow and develop. Some people learn a lot about themselves when they reflect on situations as they are writing.

Practice and Real-Life Experience

Nothing beats real life experience. One can sit through dozens of classes, watch hundreds of YouTube videos and read a handful of books about soft skill development, but putting it all into practice is what really counts. A person should stretch themselves beyond their comfort zone to get more experience in leadership roles and problem-solving. Joining Toastmasters International or similar organizations to develop communication and speaking skills can be valuable. Another option one has is practicing or role-playing with friends or coworkers and exchanging feedback to improve communication and listening skills.

Soft skill development is an ongoing process that takes time and constant nurturing. With increasing competition in the workforce, there is a greater need for sharply developed skills in the areas of leadership, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, time management and conflict resolution.