Soft Skills for the Trades is a critical area often overlooked in technical education. This term refers to the non-technical, interpersonal attributes that professionals in the trades need to effectively communicate, collaborate, and problem-solve within their work environments.

Trade and technical school graduates need soft skills as well as hard skills. Hard skills are those used to do your work such as constructing a home, wiring a house, or maintaining a process line in a plant. Soft skills are more related to people and mental skills such as good communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.

We show our hard skills when we demonstrate our technical expertise. Since we interact with other people when working, we demonstrate our soft skills when we develop rapport with them. We need to know what soft skills are and why they are crucial for succeeding in the workplace. Contact ITI Technical College today for more information.

What Are Soft Skills For Trades?

Simply put, soft skills are people and thinking skills that complement our hard skills at work. As competition increases for our employers, these abilities become more important, including:

  • A professional demeanor is displaying a professional attitude to customers and others.
  • Communication means improving our listening for understanding.
  • Teamwork develops collaboration and group decision-making skills
  • Problem-solving involves critical and creative thinking to arrive at the best decisions
  • Time Management teaches us how to prioritize tasks and schedule work better
  • Adaptability means there is more than one way to do something. It also means we must conform to new software, equipment, and the way we do our work.

Why Soft Skills For The Trades Are Needed

We know the importance of our hard skills and expertise in doing our jobs. Some people know why soft skills are critical while others do not see their place in their careers. Studies and working with customers and coworkers have shown why we need to develop our soft skills to a higher level. These reasons for improving them help bring out their importance:

  • Customers appreciate friendly, courteous, and professional technicians
  • Customers will ask technicians with great attitudes to do more work for them
  • At times, we need to persuade others to see our ideas
  • Workers must learn to analyze and critically evaluate situations
  • Employees can demonstrate they can contribute to their companies

Communication Must Be Understanding

Communication is the ‘life blood’ of relationships with other people. When we communicate poorly, we miss out on a lot. When we don’t listen carefully, we may hear someone’s words but not understand what they mean by those words. Here are some simple communication ideas:

  • Consider your audience and the best way to deliver your message
  • Don’t use 5 words when 1 will do and make eye contact
  • Get others involved and ask for feedback
  • Minimize distractions and don’t waste other people’s time
  • Be respectful, respond to others’ questions, and watch for body language

You may know some other good communication ideas, and now learn from some experts:

Teamwork Builds Collaboration And Idea Generation

Teamwork extends the idea that two heads are better than one. This old saying is not trite, and it is true because it is like having a third person in your group. Some people work alone or much of the time but still need teamwork. Working in teams provides these positive benefits:

  • Soft Skills At WorkCompany growth opportunities increase
  • The creativity of employees expands
  • Employee burnout is lessened
  • Employee growth opportunities increase
  • Employee happiness improves
  • Innovation is unlocked for the business
  • Personal employee growth expands
  • Problem-solving improves
  • Productivity boosts appear
  • Risk-taking is lessened

Each of these benefits explains itself and produces many positives for those who participate in teams and a company’s bottom line. Managers should be selective in choosing team members who will both contribute and grow from the experience.

“Trade and technical school graduates need soft skills as well as hard skills.”

Problem-Solving Produces Efficiency

Employees with good problem-solving skills are valuable assets to any organization and team. They come up with new ideas, and better ways of doing work, and provide these advantages:

  • Problem solvers make things easier to understand
  • They can save customers money and time
  • Problem solvers are proactive and inspire others
  • They increase communication and understanding
  • They give their companies an ‘edge’
  • Problem solvers can reduce bias and increase commitment

Employers reward problem solvers and need more of them in all industries.

Time Management Is A Must

Employee Soft SkillsManaging your time well increases effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity. Smart time managers learn to set priorities and how much time to spend on each task and project. They are flexible and know when to rearrange their ‘to-do’ lists. Improve time management by:

  • Setting daily goals and implementing plans for them
  • Create a regular schedule and learn to say ‘no’ when necessary
  • Eliminate distractions that slow you down
  • Let people know your time is valuable
  • Take a time management course

Employee Adaptability Improves Productivity

Learn to be more flexible in your attitude and habits so you can more readily adapt to new people, software, projects, and policies. You can improve adaptability by doing these:

  • Learn to embrace change
  • Develop an open mind
  • Don’t let your ego get in the way
  • Step out of your comfort zone
  • Improve your problem-solving skills
  • Be aware of other people’s attitudes

Trade and technical college students who build a strong foundation of both soft skills and hard skills increase their opportunities for success. Practice what you learn, and you will become a better employee. Call us today at (877) 591-1070 for more information about all our programs!

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