Relationship building and conflict resolution: 11 'soft skills' that will get you promoted.

Hard skills get you hired. Soft skills get you promoted

It's a sentiment that business advisor and digital content creator, Zain Kahn, offered in a viral twitter thread this week which might just be the answer to career progression in the modern workplace. 

The career landscape has changed in recent years, as has employer's expectations of their workers. And a strong focus on technical knowledge and training (A.K.A. hard skills) just won't cut it as a sole success measurement anymore.

Having admirable personality traits in the workplace can be the make or break in getting yourself a promotion.

So, we thought we'd go through the 11 soft skills that will move your career in the right direction.


Here's what we learned from Kahn's top tips. 

1. Communication

At the heart of a good employee is first and foremost; good communication.

The basics? Listen to others without interrupting. Really listen. Use a positive tone of voice and pay close attention to your body language. 

2. Persuasion

Once you've got the basics of communication down-pat, you can focus on the art of persuasion. 

To be a successful persuader, identify what the people you're working with care about, and create stories that resonate with them using brevity and emotion. 

3. Negotiation

Ever been in a position where you're juggling different stakeholders in a work setting? Who are we kidding, of course you have!

According to Kahn, you should be tapping into your negotiating skills.

Listen carefully to your coworker and try to identify exactly what they want. 

If they're asking something of you, know your worth — but be sure to propose a solution that will benefit both sides.


4. Relationship building

Like the old adage: 'It's not what you know, but who you know,' forming strong relationships is an important part of career development, whether we like it or not.

So, to build strong relationships with your coworkers and managers, help others wherever possible. Look for common interests in the workplace and always add value to tasks before asking for something of your coworkers in return.

5. Empathy

Similar to relationship building, is the ability to empathise with your coworkers. 

Take a genuine interest in other people, below or above your position, and consider things from their perspective. 

Acknowledge their feelings and be generous with your time and attention.

6. Positive attitude

Don't get yourself a reputation as the office gossip — no matter how tempting it may be. Having a positive attitude is important to moving up through a company, so criticise sparingly, never complain and speak highly of others.

7. Teamwork

As tempting as it might be to take credit for the presentation you put together with not so much help from your coworkers, Kahn recommends never to take all the credit.

Celebrate your coworkers wins publicly and frequently.

8. Conflict resolution

We've all been there. Making a mistake at work can be stress-inducing at best, but searching for excuses to set you free of negative feedback won't solve your issue. 


Mistakes happen. It's what happens next that is important. 

Apologise unconditionally, Kahn says. Avoid accusing others of fault. Take responsibility of your mistakes and focus on the solution rather than any additional problems.

9. Emotional Intelligence

Keeping your emotions in check at work is a highly underrated skill as Kahn explains.

When something goes wrong at work, don't act impulsively. Take a step back before you make any decisions.

Be sure to understand your feelings and the consequences of your actions, then act accordingly.

10. Time management

And yes, that means knowing when to say no, or delegate responsibilities. 

Learn to how to best prioritise your time. Oh, and we've got tips for that just here. 

11. Work ethic

Last, but certainly not least is nurturing a strong work ethic. 

If you commit to something, keep it. Show up and deliver on time, never deflect blame and take responsibility for your work.

Now, go get yourself that promotion!

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Feature Image: Getty.