Learn about social-emotional skills and their undeniable value in the professional development of your team


Today, professional success depends on a range of social-emotional skills that can help you relate better to others, as technical skills are no longer the only competencies that influence performance in the workplace.

do you have trouble working in a team? do you find it difficult to convey your ideas to other areas of the organization? Perhaps it is time for you to learn about social-emotional skills and their importance in the workplace.

If you want to improve your effectiveness at work or empower your team, it will be necessary to strengthen a good socioemotional profile. In this article we will tell you what social-emotional skills are and what they are for, as well as which are the most demanded qualities in companies and how to develop them effectively in the work environment.

what are social-emotional skills?

In a few words, we could say that socioemotional skills are life skills. They are those behaviors that we develop through experiences and that work as a tool to get along with others properly; that is, they require our ability to adapt to society.

Basically, these resources serve to understand and regulate one’s own emotions and to understand the emotions of others. In fact, socioemotional skills offer great benefits, such as:

The development of positive relationships.

The creation of a sense of responsibility with the environment.

The ability to communicate attitudes and opinions assertively.

In the same way, socioemotional skills are the best complement when looking for a job, and when working in a team, these tools will be your best ally if you want to enhance your professional performance.

how do social-emotional skills relate to your professional development?

We know that understanding what social-emotional skills are can be complex. Therefore, our teacher Nia Ayanz gives us a concept of social-emotional skills that summarizes the most important aspects:

Having socioemotional skills is “…acquiring the ability to recognize your emotions and feelings from vulnerability and use them to your advantage to become a better person and achieve personal or professional goals.”

Nowadays, social-emotional skills are part of what is known as soft skills, and are one of the most important aspects for the professional development of any person. Knowing how to manage one’s own emotions and having a good relationship with the environment is one of the main requirements for team work and, therefore, social-emotional skills are increasingly important for human resources specialists.

Now that you know what social-emotional skills are and their importance for your personal and professional development, let’s take a closer look at the relationship between social-emotional skills, soft skills and hard skills.

Relationship between social-emotional skills and soft skills and hard skills

As mentioned, it is possible to confuse social-emotional skills with the following concepts:

Social-emotional learning.

Non-cognitive skills.

Competencies of the 22nd century.

Soft skills.

Although they do not mean the same thing, when it comes to explaining what social-emotional skills are, soft skills appear. Also known as soft skills, it is one of the most commonly used to refer to socioemotional skills in the world of work.

In practice, both concepts can be understood as synonyms since they refer to the soft skills that one needs to work in a team. Nowadays, companies are looking for new skills in their leaders. Also known as soft skills (transversal skills), they have become essential aptitudes to form and lead teams.

On the other hand, another famous concept in the corporate world are the “hard skills”. These skills refer to those that one learns at university or in professional experience. In other words, they are hard skills that relate more to the technical and/or theoretical knowledge you learn during your higher education.

To be an integral professional and make your way in the working world it is necessary to develop both aspects, socioemotional skills as well as technical and theoretical ones. In a way, we could say that they are complementary and that you should not neglect one in order to develop the other.

what are socioemotional skills for?

Socioemotional skills are part of the essential tools to be able to have a full development as an individual in society.

Human beings are social beings; therefore, it is important to know how to relate in a functional way with others. People who have made an effort to develop their social-emotional profile have greater abilities to manage conflicts, face changes, relate to others and make good decisions.

Benefits of social-emotional skills

To emphasize their importance, we will share with you some of the advantages of social-emotional skills in work teams:

They have better academic performance.

Achieve a higher level of job satisfaction.

They are more consistent and have greater motivation to achieve their goals.

They have more satisfying interpersonal relationships.

They have few episodes of aggressiveness and impulsivity.

They control stress and anxiety more effectively.

They have greater mental and physical well-being.

They know how to express what they feel.

They have better self-esteem, so they are better prepared to achieve their goals.

They know how to set boundaries withco-workers, friends and family.

These are just some of the most important benefits of developing social-emotional skills. It is also important to keep in mind that people with poor social-emotional skills are more likely to suffer from anxiety, stress, low self-esteem and difficulties in socializing.

what are the most important social-emotional skills at work?

Although there are many, and there is no established classification, we present our list of socioemotional skills, each of which responds to work criteria and, in some cases, to skills that you should develop to lead a calmer and more pleasant life.

1. Self-awareness

Self-awareness refers to the ability to recognize how you feel about yourself. That is, knowing what brings you happiness and what brings you sadness and, in a practical way, what your strengths and weaknesses are.

In addition, it is essential that you develop the ability to create a self-concept of yourself. This is important because you will be able to identify both your positive and negative characteristics. To do this, your close circle can lend you a hand and help you realize your most common mistakes.

This concept is also related to self-knowledge and self-reflection. This socioemotional skill is a process that consists of making an introspective observation, interpreting what we feel, and reflecting on it to give meaning to our emotions.

2. Emotional perception of others

This social-emotional skill allows you to understand that other people also have emotions and may have personal problems. Therefore, you must take this aspect into account when working in a team.

Keep in mind that this social-emotional skill is not only about recognizing what others tell you through their words, but also involves identifying the body language they use.

Finally, this is one of the social-emotional skills that serves as a reminder of how important it is to be a receptive person, to be aware of the environment around you, and to appreciate the emotions of others.

3. Empathy

Empathy is one of the most important socioemotional skills on our list. If you don’t know what empathy is, we tell you that it is the ability to “put ourselves in the other person’s shoes”, that is, to understand the situation and feelings of others and share them. This ability helps you create bonds of trust with other people.

Empathetic people are sensitive to their own and others’ emotions, are active listeners, respectful and understanding, and also recognize individual differences. They are also very conscious of their actions and words, preferring as much as possible to avoid a negative impact on others.

4. Emotional understanding

This social-emotional skill helps you to be aware of what you feel, give a name to your feelings and recognize what is the cause or origin of your emotions. It also allows you to be aware of the consequences of certain situations and how they can eventually turn into a deeper problem.

By having this social-emotional skill you will be able to adapt better to situations, recognize your emotional needs and empathize better with others. An activity to develop this social-emotional skill is to do an exercise to relate words and experiences with your emotions and, thus, understand where they come from.

5. Emotional facilitation

This is a social-emotional skill that allows you to understand that all emotions transmit valuable information to you, regardless of whether they are positive or negative feelings. It also helps you to take into account the relationship between what you feel and what you think, making it easier to make decisions without reacting impulsively.

In addition, emotional facilitation allows you to be aware that you can generate emotions in yourself as well as in others. This social-emotional skill provides you with the following benefits:

Ability to reason.

Execute tasks.

Troubleshoot problems.

Make decisions creating a balance with your emotions.

6. Emotional regulation (Self-control)

Emotional regulation is a social-emotional skill that allows you to control your emotions and, like emotional facilitation, helps you control your impulses to avoid making rash decisions. Emotional regulation allows you to pause and think, so that you can respond in the best possible way to problems you have at work.

It also gives you the ability to enhance pleasant emotions and lessen the impact of those that are more unpleasant. It is also an essential tool for stress management.

To develop this socioemotional skill you must understand the importance of verbalizing emotions and not hold them back because, in the long run, they can be reflected in impulsive reactions or as some psychosomatic ailment, such as the following:

Prolonged stress.




Stomach pain

Skin conditions.

7. Resilience

Resilience is one of the most important socioemotional skills in a person’s life, because it helps you to analyze adverse moments in cold and allows you to find the tools to overcome them. We could say that it helps you have the confidence to move forward despite the obstacles.

Resilient people have the following characteristics:

They are flexible to change and optimistic.

They are more creative in dealing with problems.

They are perseverant, patient and proactive.

They know how to communicate their concerns.

They are aware of their capabilities.

They know how to set realistic goals.

In the workplace, this is one of the most demanded socioemotional skills when it comes to selecting new personnel. Mainly because resilient people are better able to overcome stressful situations and, therefore, are much more productive.

8. Assertive communication

Another important socioemotional skill is assertive communication. Possessing it is fundamental for those who work as leaders in large work teams.

Assertive communication can be understood as the type of communication where you express your ideas without offending the other person’s ideas. Although we can all participate and express our opinions, the way we do it contributes a lot to the team achieving results in a more efficient way. In addition, trust among team members is strengthened if there is respect and active listening.

This socioemotional skill is one of the keys to establishing positive interpersonal relationships at work. To do this, you must keep in mind that your messages are interpreted both by your body gestures and the language you use, depending on this you can demonstrate an empathetic or aggressive attitude.

On the other hand, as adults, we can have a lot of specific knowledge, but this will not help us if we do not have the necessary socioemotional skills to know how to express or communicate them to others.

Assertive communication is one of the most valued social-emotional skills for leaders in the professional field, as it has a direct effect on the productivity of an organization.

9. Responsible decision making

This socioemotional skill is one of the most useful for the personal development of any person, in particular, because it reminds you that any minimal decision can have a negative impact on your life if you do not act responsibly.

This ability is indispensable for analyzing the risks and benefits that a decision may have. It is related to other socioemotional skills because it also equips you with tools to control your impulses and make decisions consistent with your goals or life plans.

Similarly, this socioemotional skill is indispensable in the workplace, since knowing how to make decisions in a rational and coherent way enhances leadership skills, and allows people to act in accordance with the purposes or objectives of an organization.

10. Interpersonal relationship management

For some people, among all the socioemotional skills, this is the most important. Mainly because by having it we will be able to relate to the people around us in an appropriate way, whether they are our co-workers or our friends and family.

In short, we can say that it is one of the social skills that can help you build a network of positive and healthy relationships. In addition, this social-emotional skill is one of the best tools for conflict resolution.

what social-emotional skills does teamwork involve? In the professional field, this social-emotional skill will enhance your ability to collaborate in a team. That is, the ability to coordinate projects with a team and achieve good results.

11. Leadership

It is evident that good leadership represents one of the most important socioemotional skills that a collaborator can have (being fundamental if it is a supervisor or manager). Through this resource, people have the ability to have a certain influence on the way of thinking and acting of the members of the work team.

The person who knows how to apply this type of socioemotional skill is also exercising many of the qualities present in this list. And, of course, to achieve adequate leadership and become the leader that your company needs

12. Time management

More than an effective tool within the work environment, it is possible to turn time management into a socioemotional skill, through which you will be able to manage your daily activities in a way that does not affect your environment or your colleagues.

With proper time management, you will be able to meet your business objectives more easily, in addition to not affecting the planning of other collaborators in your immediate environment. This ability is linked to leadership, so it can be a resource to be taken into account.

13. Perseverance

As with resilience, perseverance is one of the socioemotional skills that offer the best results in the workplace. Having this virtue is not only important on a personal level, but it is also effective in achieving group achievements.

Maintaining perseverance, being also recognized as tenacity, allows individuals to stay in the struggle to achieve their goals and dreams, even despite the obstacles that may be encountered along the way. Because of this, having this type of quality is a competitive advantage that strengthens a work team.

how to develop socioemotional skills?

An adult can also develop his or her socioemotional skills and correct any negative aspects that he or she considers necessary to change. The development of a socioemotional profile can take place throughout life, with the possibility of teaching socioemotional skills to people of all ages. But, remember, the earlier this learning takes place, the easier it will be to adapt.

As we mentioned before, people who do not have developed their social-emotional skills have difficulties to socialize and control their emotions, so they also tend to have complications in their relationships and in the workplace. To stimulate the development of your socioemotional skills you can use the following strategies or techniques:

1. Conduct group activities

Interacting with people is an excellent way to exercise social-emotional skills, as this connection will serve as a stimulus for the development of thoughts, sensations and emotions.

Basically, this exercise is fundamental because it promotes coexistence and collaboration, and helps to practice assertive communication.therefore, it is in work and educational environments where this type of practice is most common, favoring the development of the individual, beyond training him with skills and techniques necessary for his position.

2. Make a personal SWOT

For many aspects in life, making a personal SWOT is very important to develop strategic plans and projects. Through this type of analysis, you will be able to recognize what your strengths and weaknesses are and, not only that, also the threats and opportunities you have at your disposal, which is very useful to discover the sociomational skills that you can use to your advantage…

Although the specific objective of a SWOT analysis is to analyze the present and future of your professional career, it also gives you the possibility of knowing what your opportunities and obstacles are and can help you to practice self-awareness, emotional understanding, resilience and responsible decision making.

do you want to learn how to make a personal SWOT to analyze the social-emotional skills you may have? We briefly explain the steps to follow:

Establish what your strengths are.

Locate your weaknesses.

Recognize what your opportunities are.

Identify potential threats.

Study the results obtained and act accordingly.

3. Participate in a discussion

Although debates may be seen as an arena for confrontation and disputes, this is not true. These types of strategies for developing social-emotional skills can help you understand others’ points of view and learn to communicate yours assertively .

Practicing a good debate with a person with ideas opposed to yours also helps you to understand points of view from a perspective you had not contemplated and is useful for interacting with your environment and learning to defend your position. All of this is effective when it comes to work environments, where you will probably have to defend your positions at certain times.

4. Develop problem-solving activities

There are many exercises that can help you develop your social-emotional skills at work to solve problems in a practical and safe way.

Applying exercises of this kind will be of great help not only to know how your work team works, but also so that you can design the best strategies for employees to react quickly to the difficulties that exist to achieve the objectives.

Some problem-solving exercises that can be of great help to you to boost your socioemotional skills are the following:

Pose hypothetical problems in which collaborators must think about, debate among themselves and reach agreements with other team members to find the solution.

Carry out didactic activities, in which individuals can compete with each other in a healthy and enjoyable way.

Propose scenarios in which people must assume hypothetical roles, being famous people or individuals with specific professions, and pose situations that require visualizing themselves from a different perspective.

5. Find spaces to express emotions

Expressing emotions is very important to develop social-emotional skills, as it allows people to live with less stress.

If you have trouble understanding your feelings or emotions during a workday, consider talking about them out loud. Whether you say it to someone else or just to yourself, describing your emotions verbally can help you process and manage them .

For example, if your workday seems normal but you feel anxious or stressed, you can talk to a colleague about those emotions. Processing them verbally may allow you to better understand why you feel the way you do.

6. Listen to your coworkers

Sometimes a colleague may need a moment to talk about an issue or simply tell you how his or her day went. When this happens, listen carefully and try to gauge their emotions. This can help strengthen your social-emotional skills and respond to their needs more directly.

For example, if your co-worker tells you about a difficult day, listen carefully and consider offering help if possible. This can show them that you have the ability to listen and understand their emotions. It also shows that you know how to respond to them in a professional and mature manner.

7. Accept emotions and control behaviors

This two-step process involves first accepting and understanding the emotions behind a behavior or action, then checking to make sure the behavior was an acceptable response to the situation.

If you are analyzing yourself, this process can be an excellent way to manage your emotions at work if you are feeling stressed or anxious. If you are analyzing a co-worker’s response to a situation, accepting their emotions can be an important first step before approaching them in a respectful manner. This is the foundation of healthy social-emotional relationships.

For example, suppose you respond to a co-worker’s email by agreeing to do additional work, even though you feel stressed. First, process and accept your emotions. You feel stressed and it’s okay to admit it. Next, analyze your behavior and choices. Even though you were feeling stressed, you made a professional decision to respond to your co-worker’s email instead of ignoring it.

But if you need to learn to have better control of your emotions so that you can relate appropriately to others, then you need to learn to be more in control of your emotions

8. Focus on empathy

If you are frustrated with a co-worker’s behavior at work, look at the situation from their perspective. This can make you more empathetic and help you understand their actions, as you have developed your social-emotional skills.

For example, if a coworker is often late, you might find out the reasons behind his behavior. Whether he has a family at home, moonlights at night, or simply has trouble waking up in the morning, looking at the situation from your colleague’s perspective can strengthen your empathic skills, allowing you to better understand your coworker and his or her own emotions.

9. Set goals

how do social-emotional skills impact the work environment? If you have difficulty completing your work throughout the day, you can set small goals for yourself. Achieving goals can help you better understand how emotions directly affect your workplace productivity and efficiency.

If you have a large project to complete at the end of the workday, set small, easily achievable goals throughout the day to execute the project in manageable sections .

After achieving each of these small goals, take a moment to analyze how you feel. Achieving the first goal may feel good and make the next goal seem easier to complete.

10. Keep a positive mindset

If you struggle to maintain a positive attitude while working, analyze those emotions and offer counterpoints. This can help you improve your attitude in the workplace and possibly increase your productivity at the same time.

One way to do this is to write a list that reflects the positive aspects of your current job or project. Whether it’s your salary, your friendly coworkers or your inspiring leader, finding the positive aspects of your job can help you look forward to the day while strengthening your social-emotional skills.

11. Evaluate your team

If you are a team leader or in HR, you should know what social-emotional skills your organization’s members possess. Like other hard skills, some people are more likely to develop these types of job competencies than others in the workplace.

There are a few approaches you can take to find out the list of social-emotional skills your teams have. You can survey each person on your team and ask questions about scenarios. Then, you can compare the results.

The other option is to use some type of emotional measurement such as the Emotional Intelligence Test.This will give you an overview of your teams’ emotional intelligence scores and how they align or miss the mark with your performance management plan.

To do this, you will need a tool that optimizes this whole process.

Listen to the voice of each person in your team and design better experiences. With our platform you can measure and manage the satisfaction of each person in your company, to make better decisions in favor of the internal culture.

Boost feedback and learning at work. Request and provide feedback from leaders to everyone on the team, to identify opportunities for improvement.

Streamline the measurement of engagement. Implement instruments to measure performance and work environment with real-time results for each team and individual.

Throughout the article we have emphasized how important socioemotional skills are to grow professionally. Having them helps you to perform better and have a good performance in any job you do, whether as a team leader or as the human talent of a company.

In fact, socioemotional skills are one of the competencies that have the greatest impact on the selection of personnel for companies. Regularly, recruiters from the human resources department consider that having socioemotional skills determines the level of efficiency of a person, so no matter how much technical or practical knowledge you have, your profile will never be complete without them.

The development of socioemotional skills as part of your competencies in the workplace will have positive effects on your employability. It will also bring benefits that translate into better jobs, more attractive salaries and greater satisfaction with your work life.

In short, socioemotional skills are an important part of the development of any person, thanks to them you can have healthier relationships, better express your emotions or feelings, and perform more easily in the workplace.

remember that we never stop learning, good luck!

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