Develop Your Soft Skills to be Better at Work!

It is already quite known that Singaporeans are among the hardest working in the world. That should have a lot to do with our attitude towards our job and work environment. Attitude, if you think about it, is actually a soft skill. But what exactly are these soft skills we’re talking about? Continue reading to find out what soft skills really are and how they can help you become better at work.

Hard Skills and Soft Skills
To easily understand what exactly soft skills are, you ought to know how they compared to hard skills. Hard skills are basically the technical skills that you need to have to perform well in a job. That can be knowing how to make documents, computer programming, knowledge on vocational activities and etc. In essence, they are job-specific skills.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are non-technical or transferable skills. While hard skills are taught and learned quite easily, soft skills rely more on being able to “read” or empathize with people hence they can be harder to pick up. Some examples would be confidence, teamwork, communication, and the like.

Enhance Your Soft Skills
Communication
Probably one of the more important skills to develop is your ability to communicate. This is simply because we are always communicating with people at work. You need to be clear when making reports, communicating your ideas and opinions, or even just in casual conversation. This will help you avoid misunderstandings and cultivate a good working environment overall. Practicing your eye contact and use of gestures and body language can be a good way to get better at communicating.

Teamwork
Another important skill employers commonly look for is a person’s ability to work in a team. Teamwork is important because it determines how well you can work in a team and it leads you to have common goals with your peers. Plus, you’ll finish a lot more work if you are able to deliberate tasks fairly. One way you can improve in working with a team is to accept others’ opinions. You’ll be able to find and utilize each persons’ strengths while also covering for their weaknesses.

Leadership
Leadership can be quite a hard skill to develop since it is mainly a combination of many soft skills already. First of all, you’ll have to be a good role model for others. You’ll also have to know how to communicate your influence while still be approachable and helpful to others. You’ll also need to have the ability to make decisions without bias and even anticipate the benefits and consequences of these decisions. Although not everyone chooses to take the role of the leader, it would be good to at least enhance your leadership skills from time to time.

02 Jul 2019

Tips on How You Can Work Well Under Pressure

It has been observed that in Singapore, more and more workers are facing stress at work. There can be a lot of reasons behind this, but surely one is pressure. Much is expected from an individual and that can lead to the build-up of stress. But when he/she knows how to work well under pressure, that can present a lot of opportunities.

Place a positive spin on the situation
What makes working under pressure hard is our initial perception of pressure itself. Many of us see high-pressure situations as intimidating and threatening times. This leads to performing less and less productively. So, begin with changing the way you look at pressure. Think of it not as a threat but as a challenge. This way, you won’t drain yourself emotionally before the work even starts and you will be able to accept it just as another challenge that you can easily finish.

Plan ahead
Plan ahead of everything, and plan for the worst. This not only makes things flow a lot smoother, you’ll also be able to work easier under pressure. This is because you’re already ready for the unexpected. You have to recognize that unexpected things will always happen and not everything always goes in your favor. Planning things clearly ahead means that you are prepared for whatever may happen and makes you less affected by blunders and mistakes you otherwise would not have expected.

Don’t worry about the outcome
Focus on the task at hand instead of worrying about the outcome. Thinking about the outcome of a task before you even do it only gives you unnecessary stress. When you concentrate on what’s in front of you, you’ll be able to do things step by step hence finish the job more efficiently.

Listen to music you enjoy
Music is a great mood booster when working under pressure. There’s a lot of debate on how music affects productivity, but you can’t deny that it can help improve your mood. Playing some music will give you back some energy to do your tasks when you’re already getting tired. This is because music can also distract you from your worries and troubles. Try it, and dance around (if your work permits) if you want to even!

Psych yourself up
This is something unique to each person and is something fun you can try. Before you start on your task, psych yourself up with a certain routine or something like a pre-work ritual. For example, you can look and point at your reflection in the mirror and say, “You can do this!”. It can also be as simple as shouting, “I am the best! And I can do this!” Of course, make sure you’re not doing anything that might disturb others. This is just a good and simple way to muster more confidence and enthusiasm out of yourself.

02 Apr 2019

5 Signs You’re in a Toxic Workplace

Your workplace, which serves as your second home, can make a huge impact on your physical and mental health. The reason why it is important to make sure that you are not only happy with your work, but also comfortable and happy with your everyday environment. Here are five signs that you are in a toxic workplace—and what you can do about it.

1. Unrealistic workload
If you’re having trouble completing your work on a daily or weekly basis, despite all your best efforts, perhaps you’re dealing with unrealistic workload. Being unable to finish all your tasks in time can lead to stress and anxiety. Some of the long-term effects of this include low morale and feeling burnt out. To handle work-related pressure, know how to handle everything effectively. Schedule your work, prioritize, have some time off and use your allotted vacation leaves.

2. You often work more than eight hours a day
Unless it is part of your job description to work more than eight hours a day, you should not be staying late and coming so early in the office. One way to ensure work-life balance is self-care—by taking enough rest from work. This allows for more opportunities for creativity and fresh thinking. Reward yourself every end of the day by going home at a healthy hour in the evening.

3. There is harassment and bullying
Harassment and bullying is not just for kids in school; it can happen at work, too. This can include, angry outbursts, name calling, oppressive behavior and cultural insensitivity. If you are in any of these situations, try to deal with the problem head-on and seek assistance from your human resources. If it’s possible, request to transfer to a different department or area away from the stressful situation.

4. Your friends and family notice a difference
If your family and friends have commented about your demeanor or mood since you have taken on your job (or since work has become toxic for you), try to ponder on them. The fact that they noticed a change in you says a lot. While It’s easy to get defensive, try to listen and use this to your advantage to deal with workplace stress.

5. It feels like you could get fired anytime
Some workplaces exude that feeling of uncertainty, constant change and high turnover, which can make employees fear anxious and fearful. This isn’t healthy. Persistent fear and worry on situations that are out of your control can cause long-term emotional and physical distress. The best way to handle this is to be resilient and focus your energy to things that you can control, like having enough time for yourself, spending time with your loved ones, improving a skill or hobby and taking care of your emotional well-being.

Don’t let work take over your life. Sometimes, that feeling of wanting to quit your job is just a side effect of feeling burnt out. Take a rest or go on a vacation to bring back that creative and lively spirit.

07 Feb 2019

4 Qualities of a Good Teacher

There’s something that makes our teachers recognizable in a good way and once we end up appreciating our teacher, we then slowly begin to learn a little more from them. The thing about good teachers is that they become really admirable to us. Once we admire something, we end up paying a little more attention to what we admire. Attention is one thing, but once we’ve fully dived into curiosity, there’s no stopping us from learning great things.

Here are a few things that make up a great teacher:

1. Wise
Since we enroll in our classes to learn, a wise teacher is definitely someone we look up to. The problem with some teachers is that although they are knowledgeable, they are not wise. Okay then, what is wisdom? Wisdom is the application of knowledge, knowing when and what to use for certain situations around. It’d be much better to learn business from an entrepreneur who has made up a huge company rather than just learning from someone who took masters at a business school.

Don’t get us wrong, if you graduate from Master’s in business school, you are truly knowledgeable! But not everyone who knows, knows what to do when the situation approaches. This is what makes the entrepreneur wise, he’s been through the experience himself.

2. Relatable
It’s pretty hard for you to learn from someone who you can’t connect with. Connecting with your teacher is very important. Teachers who are willing to connect with you on a personal level are the best. Not only does it feel better to be their student, you connection comes with more importance to what they say. Giving importance to someone’s words is a great way for you to be able to remember it.

3. Charismatic
Aha! We all love a teacher who is charismatic. Not only can they grab your attention, they hook you in with their oozing charisma. From the way a teacher greets you to the way they explain their lesson, there’s something about the way they communicate or maybe even present themselves. It’s really hard to turn your eyes and ears away from a charismatic teacher.

4. Skilled
Last but not the least, we need a teacher who is skilled at doing what they are teaching, a person who can walk his talk. This is a basic trait every teacher is required to have and this is why we should give our respects to every teacher out there.

A great teacher only comes by once a while. Make the most of the time you spend with your teacher and make sure to learn and absorb as much as you can from them. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by as you might regret not learning a little more.

21 Feb 2018

3 Marks of a Bad Teacher

Sadly, not every teacher is a good one. Although teaching is an admirable career, not every teacher is doing their utmost best to transform the lives of their students. This seems like a lot to expect from teachers but then again, all of us want the best. Sometimes though, the problem is not with the teacher but rather with the student.

Students can sometimes become their own hindrances when it comes to learning. Besides, no matter how amazing a certain view may be, if we close our eyes, we still won’t be able to see it. Talking about teachers is something a lot of us may have a hard time talking about because of our utmost respect for them but sometimes we have to determine for ourselves if a teacher is wrong or not.

Here are a few ways to spot the bad teacher:

1. No respect for students
Sadly, in our modern generation, respect is supposedly earned rather than innate. People end up respecting people who they think are above them and give little importance to people bellow them. Respect should definitely be given to people of all different kinds of social positions whether you would look at them as above you or not. Respecting students is something every teacher has to do. Of course, students are expected to respect their teachers but there is also the same expectation the other way around.

2. Does not answer questions
Questions are the keys to open the doors of learning. Having unanswered questions is like a car without fuel, it gets you nowhere. Sadly, it is a matter of fact that we will never be able to know everything but that is not exactly what we expect from teachers. If somebody does not know the answer, they just have to be honest instead of blocking you off. There are certain cases when some teachers get mad at a certain student for asking a very critical question which they cannot answer instead of giving props to the person who asked it. Academics is about growth and growth in everyone always functions on different speeds.

3. Does not allow opinions
Opinions are to be respected. Period. Sadly, people believe that because of their position or authority, their opinions magically become more correct compared to others without any sufficient basis. This is a very dangerous mind-set as this would definitely crush progress of not just the subject you are learning but learning in general. Everyone goes to school with the intention of learning and growth while some teachers become the actual hindrance towards them.

Here are a few ways to tell if your teacher isn’t doing a good job. We do not encourage complaints, we just want everyone to know.

21 Feb 2018

Blunders That Can Damage Your Career  

Even as professionals, you make mistakes. Sometimes the blunders can be repaired easily but there are times that the blunders are irreversible that it can ruin both your career and personal life. It is important to know these blunders so you can avoid it before it happens.

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Here are some blunders that you should avoid if you want a flourishing career and fruitful personal life:

  • Do not lose control of your emotions. Screaming out of rage or behaving badly because of fury is not acceptable. Yes, you will lose your emotions at some point but you have to be professional about it. Do not scream to broadcast it to the office. While it helps to be honest and transparent, do not act impulsively and rashly.
  • Do not lie – ever. Everyone surely lies. Whether it is done to protect other people or to protect yourself from consequences, lying is still destructive. It is exhausting and it can limit you to reach your full potential.

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  • Quit complaining. It is easy to complain and whine about the compensation and the load of work but you never think of the consequences. If you broadcast to everyone that you detest your job, you will probably end without it.

If you cannot control these things, you will surely regret everything at the end of the day. Sure, you can lose control or lie and even complain but you must think that you only get one or two chances here in Singapore.

If in this case your job is causing you to feel and think miserable, look for other jobs but leave a good impression. If you leave a good impression, looking for a job here in Singapore will be easy.

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30 Oct 2014