We work collaboratively in UX Design. Designers are no longer left in their own little bubble. The market has changed so much in the last ten years with the rise of UX Design. It's no longer just UI design or just being a graphic designer. You need to be able to take in information, process it, and then distill it back into valuable insights for your stakeholders and team.
Most people don't know that Steve Jobs was a big fan of soft skills and credited much of his early success to soft skills. Hard skills are things one can learn. They're actionable, and you can quantify them. But soft skills, which are the non-actionable things, and personal skills, which include how you operate in a team, communicate, and so on, are much harder to teach and quantify.
I believe self-awareness is an essential soft skill that, when applied, can be impactful for one's career. One technique I use to ground myself and increase self-awareness in the workplace is to be aware of my body and breathing. Silence the inner chatter in your mind. This provides a better internal environment that sets the stage for being a more effective designer. A complimentary soft skill to self-awareness is deep listening. One must focus their attention on what the other person is saying instead of thinking ahead on an answer. This style of listening tends to foster better quality conversations and collaboration.
I have acquired a lot of soft skills throughout my career. One of the best ways to learn and develop these skills is to work closely with designers and leaders who've mastered the desired soft skills you value and learn from them. I encourage designers to put themselves out there and practice self-awareness and deep listening in the workplace. Subsequently, designers will refine their soft skills and contribute to a more open and collaborative environment at the same time.