5 soft skills for business careers

Strengthening your business skills requires working on both hard and soft skills.

While hard skills deal with concrete, external skills, soft skills are more elusive “people skills” that determine how we relate to others. Although more difficult to measure, soft skills are essential.

Developing your soft skills will help you resolve conflicts, express yourself clearly in writing, and inspire others to do their best.

Read on to learn about the soft business skills essential to any business professional’s repertoire.

Why are people skills important in business?

Professionals in all business careers need skills related to communication, social cohesion and maintaining mental focus.

Improving your social skills as a business professional can benefit your career. Colleagues or employees may find you easier to:

  • To understand
  • straight away
  • To follow
  • Help out
  • Disagree with safe

In outward looking positions, good people skills can help you open up opportunities for your employer. Soft skills make it possible to make compromises — useful both in your working relationships and when making deals on behalf of your employer.

5 Most Useful People Skills for Business

All people skills have potential benefits for business professionals. A few soft skills, such as leadership and collaboration, are especially beneficial for high paying business careers.

Regardless of your industry and environment, you should nurture these top five skills to help you thrive and thrive.

1. Leadership

Leadership is the ability to motivate people to achieve goals. Virtually all business roles involve leading, influencing, or motivating, but the skill is especially important for:

  • Project managers
  • Program managers
  • C-level managers and executives

Without leadership skills, C-level executives fail to effectively guide the organizations they lead.

You can develop leadership skills by taking on more projects. Once you learn to motivate yourself, you can focus on motivating others. Also, try enrolling in a leadership training program or volunteering outside of work in a role where you lead others.

2. Written communication

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Communication skills, or the ability to translate thoughts and ideas to others, contribute to your success as a business professional. Good written communication skills make it possible to create professionally written materials, including:

  • Grants and proposals
  • Training material
  • emails
  • Reports
  • Newsletters

For example, you need good writing skills to summarize your goals for your organization’s next quarter in a proposal.

To meet this need, most online business degree courses offer writing courses.

You can develop better writing skills by taking an online writing course, attending a writing workshop, or spending more time analyzing others’ writing in your spare time. You can also exchange written feedback with colleagues.

3. Collaboration

Collaboration is the ability to achieve goals together as a team. It includes both accepting the help of others and contributing to the work of others. Forms of collaboration that contribute to the overall health of a company include:

  • Team collaboration
  • Cross-Brand Collaboration
  • Interdepartmental or interdisciplinary collaboration
  • community collaboration

You need collaboration to bring out the best in others. If you want to make a great product with another department, it is in your best interest to respect and help them as contributors.

Increasing your skills as an employee may mean taking on more team projects at work and volunteering outside of work.

4. Guidance

Mentoring means being able to increase the abilities and skills of others by both directly teaching and encouraging them.

Workplaces provide mentorship during onboarding and training and can set up formal mentoring programs. Mentoring also happens informally in the working relationships you cultivate. For example, providing assistance to a new hire that you are not directly training is a form of mentorship.

You can develop mentorship skills by providing help and guidance to people in many areas of life, such as friends and younger relatives. You can also join a mentorship program or take a mentorship course.

5. Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is the ability to de-escalate and resolve disagreements and arguments between people.

This skill, an important part of emotional intelligence, makes it possible to avoid and neutralize problems in the workplace, ranging from different communication styles to political disagreements.

For example, conflict resolution skills make it easier to resolve a personal dispute over a superficial comment before it disrupts a working relationship.

Develop conflict resolution skills by attending an evening conflict resolution class or workshop offered by your job or local colleges. Practice conflict resolution in your own life by navigating conflict without escalating or blaming.


Soft skills are indispensable as part of your business skills toolbox. Trying to build your social skills can positively impact your whole life, making you a better friend, community member, and a better worker.

Check out your local university’s offerings for nighttime classes, continuing education, and soft skills workshops for more information or guidance.

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