Employers need managers with the critical soft skills

The Growing Importance of Communication Skills in the Workplace

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Employers need managers with the critical soft skills

The Growing Importance of Communication Skills in the Workplace



I have realized a trend that the majority of the participants who have attended still need improvement with their soft communication skills in order to be successful in global business.

The soft skills I am referring to are verbal skills, self-confidence, eye contact, listening ability, vocabulary, etc.

Today, employers need managers with the critical soft skills. These skills are important for effective performance across all job categories. These soft skills have come to be an even more crucial role in management positions in today’s environment.

In the last few years, surveys were conducted in various parts of Japanese Business. Employers have been asked what skills they want to see in their employees. Time after time the results remain consistent. The soft skills are in demand. Unfortunately, these are the skills that are in short supply today. Topping the list for most Japanese businesses are skills such as communication skills, team player skills, problem solving and critical thinking.

Communication Skills

Communicating ideas in the workplace is different than in an academic setting.  In a classroom, the instructor usually leads group discussions or assigns written homework, and students respond or ask questions when directed to do so.  In the workplace, however, the format for interaction varies.  Sometimes your supervisors may specifically ask you for your opinion or ask you to express that opinion in writing.  More often than not, however, they assume that if they need to know something, you will bring it to their attention.  The challenge of communicating in the workplace is learning how and when to share your ideas or concerns.

Listening is also an important communication skill.  Employers report that the average entry-level candidate struggles with knowing how to listen carefully.  They may not immediately process essential instructions or be able to understand how their tasks relate to the overall goals of the organization.  One way to improve your listening comprehension skills is to ask questions.  Other tactics include restating or paraphrasing what you thought you heard to confirm you understood correctly, and taking notes.


Successful businesses rely on team players. Understanding how to act as a member of a team may begin when you play sports or work on group projects in school.  In the workplace, knowing how and when to lead and follow takes practice, as does knowing how to avoid unnecessary conflict.  Working on a team also allows you to build closer relationships with your co-workers, which can make any job more fun and interesting.  When working on a team, make sure that the workload is shared and that everyone is communicating.  While some competition between team members is healthy and contributes to productivity, too much negative personal interaction can have the opposite effect.

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

Companies have learned they can no longer conduct business exactly the way it was conducted ten years ago. Today’s changing environment requires companies to adapt to the current world. This means employing people who “think outside the box” that will help outline the vision for tomorrow’s organizations.

Creative problem solving and an ability to identify opportunities are critical in this dynamic environment. Employees who can “think outside the box” and present new solutions to the old problems will be highly valued.

While many employers feel they can train employees in the technical skills needed to perform the job, there is more concern with the ability to teach the softer skills. Employees of the twenty-first century must be committed to the soft skills. This commitment doesn’t begin the first day on the job. This is a commitment that starts even prior to entry in theworkforce and stems from the dedication to become a lifelong learner — constantly updating and revising skills to better meet the needs of the changing marketplace.

For all these reasons, I believe communication is crucial and vital to business. Specialized business knowledge is important, but not enough to guarantee success.


Philip Deane