Soft Skills, why are they important in manufacturing?
First, let’s define what we mean by soft skills. The Collins English Dictionary says soft skills are desired qualities for employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge, rather they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude. These skill sets are difficult to determine by merely scanning a resume.
So, how does this relate to you?
Have you worked on a team where some people don’t know how to communicate, or worse, they are rude or condescending when they talk? How well do you think the team will collaborate? Chances are, not very well.
I sat smack dab in the middle of the engineering department and felt like I was in a foreign country, so many acronyms, so little time… That’s when I learned how important soft skills are in cultivating growth and employee engagement.
My engineering director taught me how to create quotes for things that I knew not. He broke down the concepts and acronyms into everyday terms and did so in a kind, patient and simple way. This form of empathy had a huge impact on my success with the company.
Having these soft skills are essential to success in the workplace, whether you run a plant or are part of the production team. We find that employers are taking a deeper look at these attributes during the hiring process. You may be the best at what you do on the production floor, but if you can’t communicate, if you have a poor or inflexible attitude, or come off as arrogant, etc., you will undoubtedly turn potential employers off or get passed up on the next promotion.
Are you lacking soft skills?
Don’t fret, like any skill, soft skills can be learned and developed over time. Read a book, take an online class, ask your peers if you’re lacking in any area, but don’t get offended if you hear something critical. LISTEN to suggestions on where or how to improve, and most importantly, PRACTICE empathy.
Think back to your first day at a new job or industry and remember how you were treated? Did you feel respected? Did people listen to your needs? Were people kind to you? Those things go a long way. If you are still unsure, fall back to the golden rule: Treat people as you would want to be treated.