Hard skills are easy to quantify: either you know how to programme software or you don’t! But with the rise of automation, many jobs that require simple hard skills like data processing or collection are going to either disappear or will have to evolve. That’s why it’s essential to harness the power of soft skills like leadership, empathy, and creativity…
Here are 10 soft skills you need for the age of AI
1. Interpersonal skill
Empathy means putting yourself ‘in another’s shoes’ and feeling their pain, frustration, excitement or joy. It’s critical to be able to empathise with others to break down boundaries between team members, prevent conflict and create a more positive work environment where people can flourish.
2. Sense of humour
In a Ted Talk called The Magical Power of Storytelling, David JR Phillips explains that telling humorous stories at work can help trigger the production of endorphins in both yourself and whoever’s listening, making everyone more relaxed and creative.
Also, being able to engage with other team members in a light and easy way keeps things in perspective at work and your day-to-day world.
3. Integrity and honesty
Integrity will never go out of style. In its purest form, it’s about maintaining a set of personal values at all points during your personal and professional life.
Though compromising in some matters is essential to collaborative work, there’s never a reason to compromise on values like honesty and respect.
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humour, but without folly.” Jim Rohn
Even outside of managerial roles, it helps to think like a leader; value other people’s contributions and exude confidence, while also being willing to learn from others.
A bilingual employee is an asset. Understanding the structure of other languages can help strengthen communication skills in your native language, and feeds into other soft skills like flexibility, collaboration and empathy. Emerging language technology has made it incredibly easy to learn a new language.
Language fluency is not enough. Communication, as a concept, is way more complicated than you might think. Learn about the different types of communication, including nonverbal, written, storytelling and touch, at Principles of Management.
As automation begins to take over more solitary, rote tasks like data entry, we’re going to have to embrace working in teams on higher-level functions that require more collaborative work.
8. Creativity and problem solving
Problem solving, and creativity must be discussed as one cohesive soft skill because most issues necessitate creative solutions.
Improve your creativity by:
- Brainstorming. These sessions allow you to develop concepts in a judgment-free zone.
- Challenge your creative, right-brain activation through drawing or other artistic practices.
9. Time management
With automation, faster technology and greater connectivity in the world, there’s no place to hide from poor time-management skills. That is where harnessing the power of technology is going to be an incredible asset.
10. Adaptability and flexibility
Automation and the role of Artificial Intelligence will likely continue to increase at a rapid rate, and while this promises exciting innovations and efficiencies in a variety of fields, it’s also going to demand rapid changes. That is where the ability to adapt becomes an incredibly valuable soft skill.
You can have all the education, training, and potential in the world, but if you cannot adapt to the changes that are set to occur in the workplace, you will have a difficult time transitioning in the future.
Written by Janine van der Merwe, reward specialist at Remuneration Consultants, Tax Consulting SA
Passionate digital editor, social media manager and journalist. She gets excited about new trends in the digital industry and as a career-obsessed young woman, she is always ready to learn something new. To take a break from digital, she loves reading hard copy books and magazines. If she’s not working, you’ll find her in a yoga class or running a half marathon. And afterwards with a glass of champagne, of course.