The 55 and older workers born before 1964 would have begun their first job before 1982. The workplace throughout is now more diverse and more technical than ever with a great need for effective communication. Wikipedia gives the best definition of soft skills as “a combination of people skills, social skills, communication skills, character or personality traits, attitudes, career attributes, social intelligence and emotional intelligence quotients, among others, that enable people to navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals. “
Here are 5 ways Older Workers can develop soft skills to gain trust and dependability in the workplace.
1. A positive flexible attitude in the workplace is being able to cope with changes in circumstances and think about problems and tasks in novel, creative ways. When you are able to see the best in work situations you can bring about opportunities in place of the worry or lack of choices, adding value to the workplace. Here, when conflict arise a person with a positive flexible attitude can put things into perspective and focus on the opportunities at hand, making tasks and projects more satisfying, if not more fulfilling. This can be practiced by planning ahead, being open-minded, focusing on appreciation and staying calm.
2. Integrity in the workplace is having a clarity of who you are and what you believe, then acting on it. There is no substitute for the security of self. Your confidence will allow others to trust you as you trust yourself. Great work ethic is a wonderful result of integrity which is also joined by the respect of teammates and employers. Proudly and consistently accepting accountability for your role is a great start. Having integrity in the workplace can be experienced by relating the values and the mission of the company to your own.
3. Teamwork in the workplace is when each individual in a group can pull together their individual skills, knowledge and abilities to accomplish a mutual goal. Here is where an older worker’s influence is key. How well you work and interact with your team will determine trust, loyalty and dependability. Effective teamwork can be accomplished through celebrating diversity, setting clear goals, clarifying roles, and designating responsibilities.
4. Leadership as a soft skill can come from anyone of any role at any time. From the clerk to the CEO, leadership is a quality trait that helps in every situation regardless of status or position. There will be many times when the designated leader needs the help of a subject matter expert, and organizer or an editor. In which case that individual who can help becomes a leader of sorts and has authority of a specific purpose. From the person who suggest an idea, to the person who trains others, or even the person who comes to the aide of another coworker who has fallen short in a task, all are awesome examples of leadership.
5. Effective communication can bring harmony and rapid production. As an older worker being a good receiver of information determines the quality of the communication, thus strengthening the value of any actions to be carried out as an employee. To communicate effectively repeat any instructions, convey them in an email (or any trackable messaging), revise them for any misunderstandings or additions needed, deploy, review and revamp. This technique leaves little room for perception which puts everyone on the same path.
The Collins English Dictionary defines the term "soft skills" as "desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude.” For well-practiced older workers soft skills may come very easy due to many previous interactions and workplace exposure.
With a few soft skill tips older workers can override the myths and stereotypes of not being ready to learn new things, not capable of taking direction well or not having a good connection with a younger supervisor. Older workers can be known as flexible proud workers who are on board with the mission and the culture of an organization.
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