8 “Soft Skills” You Need for Every Job

harris school of business, soft skills needed for workBasic customer service skills can make you a valued employee

No matter what career you choose, odds are that you can benefit from learning some basic customer service skills. At the Harris School of Business, we believe that a solid foundation in customer service skills can help you whether you are an assistant, associate, manager, or director.

Take a moment to look at these top 8 job skills, and then spend some time reflecting on the areas where you are strong, and those areas where you may need to improve. Getting stronger in these skill areas can improve your professionalism and contribute to a better career experience for you.

Be patient
All jobs require some amount of patience. There are times when you will need to be patient with your co-workers, your customers, your patients, you name it. Working with other human beings can simply be frustrating, and to manage it well, you need to learn patience. Don’t allow co-workers or customers to get under your skin. Stay calm and polite, and with any luck, they will stay calm too.

Improve your communication skills
The majority of problems at work are caused by poor communication. Communication is a two-way street. It involves both listening to the customer and then speaking to the customer. The best way to improve your communication skills is to picture yourself as the other person. What outcome are they expecting? What do they know? What more do they need to know? How can I make their experience better? Communicating clearly helps to get everyone “on the same page,” which can help avoid misunderstandings, mistakes, and other problems in the workplace.

Take a conflict resolution mindset
It’s unfortunate, but conflicts come up in most jobs. It could be an angry customer, a dissatisfied patient, or an angry co-worker. If you approach these situations from a conflict-resolution mindset, you will be in a good position to make a positive change. Resolving a conflict doesn’t mean that one side wins and the other side loses. It means that you use creative problem-solving to arrive at a solution that hears both sides of the issue and results in both parties understanding the reason for the solution.

Mind your manners
Basic manners go a long way to keeping others happy. If you are cheerful, helpful, and polite in your dealings with others, there’s a good chance they will appreciate you and treat you respectfully in return.

Be positive
Every job will have its problems and challenges. Try to keep a positive attitude when dealing with others. Take a “can-do” attitude rather than a “can’t-do” attitude. A good attitude puts you one step closer to finding a solution.

Be flexible
When dealing with others on the job, it’s important to be flexible. “One size fits all” is usually not the case. Be willing to look at each individual situation and evaluate it based on what makes the most sense. Surprises are bound to come up. If you are flexible and adaptable, you will be able to find a solution that keeps the customer or client satisfied.

Know what you’re doing
Being confident and competent in your job responsibilities will help you deal with any situation that you encounter. If you are sure of your abilities and the services your offer, you can present a clear picture of what is possible.

Show empathy
Empathy means understanding how another person feels about something. Empathy is important in understanding others’ points of view. The more you can grasp what other people are feeling about a certain situation, the more able you are to resolve any conflicts.

With these eight skills, you will find that it is easier to work with others, whether they are your co-workers, supervisors, clients, or customers. With these “soft skills” in your skill set, you will be able to handle situations calmly, professionally, and productively.


The Harris School of Business provides career-related advice in its twice-weekly blog. Check out our archive, or visit us online for more information about enrolling in our career-focused programs.