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Social competence skills you should develop

Hardly any term is as diverse as that of social competence. This often conceals positive key qualifications such as teamwork, motivation or communication skills. 

It is not uncommon for HR professionals to mention social skills as a key recruitment criterion, synonymous with a kind of personality skills. According to soft study skills, and also social skills, make up around 40 percent of professional success. 

An online masters in social work not only makes you a viable member of the society but also develops competencies that help you become the best version of yourself. 

What is social competence? 

The much-touted property belongs to the social skills or soft skills. In contrast to a hard qualification, their presence cannot be measured either by a degree or by a certificate. Rather, social competence usually only reveals itself in cooperation. 

The definition of the term is often given as the ability to reconcile one’s own goals with the attitudes and values ​​of a group – and thus to influence the behavior and attitudes of this group to some extent. 

That is why social competence is often equated with social intelligence and social empathy. Those who own it can act appropriately and wisely in all social interactions with others. In short, such a person is less likely to attack and has a binding effect – in two senses. 

The spectrum of social skills is extremely broad. A distinction is often made between four fields: dealing with yourself, dealing with others, skills in cooperation and leadership skills: 

The most frequently mentioned characteristics of social competence are characteristics such as: 

  1. Teamwork 
  2. Reliability 
  3. Credibility 
  4. Empathy 
  5. Tolerance 
  6. Load-bearing capacity 
  7. Frustration tolerance 
  8. Criticism 
  9. Responsibility 
  10. Compromise 
  11. Willingness to learn 
  12. Credibility 
  13. Assertiveness 

The concept of social competence is almost exclusively positive. However, disputes are a regular part of living together, more than that, in everyday work, they are essential to distill the best solution from a multitude of suggestions and ideas.  

Truly socially competent people must, therefore, have the rare gift of tactfully combining two behaviors that are at first glance opposing each other. Also, using them in such a way that they can achieve their own goals within social relationships without endangering the relationship itself.

Social competence comprises two basic skills.

  • The talent for cooperation 
  • The constructive ability to deal with conflict 

Social competence is an important career factor 

The best qualifications, all knowledge and skills are of little to nothing if you cannot convince or inspire others. Professional success only arises from the interaction of individual groups and individual interests, which must be skillfully brought together. 

The more often you honestly agreed with the above statements, the more socially competent you are probably. However, you should observe and assess this over a longer period. 

Be confident 

Being able to speak is perhaps the most central skill to demonstrate social competence. Whether in the conversation phases of the interview, in a meeting or during the small talk – who says a lot does not have to be able to communicate well.  

In addition to communication, there are also other ways in which you can demonstrate social competence. These include

  1. Listen to others prerogatives and opinions
  2. Understand and show understanding 
  3. Be trustworthy and trust others 
  4. Make contacts and friendships 
  5. Can mediate and explain 
  6. Lead groups 
  7. Lead discussions 
  8. Arguing and debating 
  9. Show a willingness to compromise

Put your interests and advantages behind

In the job, in particular, you can show your boss your social skills. This works in meetings, during teamwork or in normal work. Many a personnel manager provokes his counterpart in the job interview with tricky trick questions to see how the candidate reacts.

Here not only the handling of stress is tested, but also the social competence. How do you deal with a difficult situation? Do you react irritably or do you remain calm and respectful? Do you deal with the question objectively and provide your arguments?

Learn and develop the skills

The good news is that social skills can be learned and trained. However, this is not as easy as many would like it to be. Although there are targeted courses and courses that are designed to convey social skills and strengthen them through exercises, one thing helps in the end: focus on the social skills that you want to promote and work on them in everyday life. 

Always remind yourself that you want to increase your social skills and act accordingly. The following tips can help: 


Always keep what you promise and never promise more than you can keep. Everything else leads to product disappointment – and damages your social reputation, the proverbial obituary. 


Kindness and willingness to help work like a boomerang: They are a document of competence and care, commitment and empathy, of extensive knowledge and a wealth of experience. Ultimately, the helpful person proves that he also keeps an eye on others and their needs. And besides, helpfulness also makes you healthy. 

Willingness to learn 

Learn from and through others. You do not develop social competence by pretending to be able to do everything. Nobody can. Take advice, learn from the experiences of others – and pass on the knowledge on your part. Learning from and with each other and developing further promotes social competence. 


Do not retreat to your snail shell, but often work in a team. This is all the truer when there are differences of opinion and different ideas that have to be formed into a common project. This may be difficult, but it is good training for your social skills.


As part of self-control and tolerance for frustration, patience is a key core virtue. Scientists today agree: In addition to intelligence and talent, waiting can be an essential key to professional and life success. Those who can resist spontaneous impulses and remain calm in the event of defeats usually earn more live healthier and, on top of that, are happier.


Expertise, strategic thinking, practical experience – there is hardly a lack of young professionals today. Self-reflection is essential for development, including social development. Socially competent people therefore at least occasionally use their free time to clarify what was good, what needs improvement, what they have learned, what mistakes they have made, what skills they have developed and what the next step must be. Only those who know who he is and what he can do can bring this into the team. 


Social competence also means having your own opinion and being able to represent it, possibly even convincing others but also bringing enough tolerance towards those who think differently.