Globally, there is unemployment and unemployability due to the dearth of soft skills. The importance of soft skills is felt strongly across the global educational institutions to enhance employability and employment, and across the global organizations to enhance productivity and performance.
Currently, there is inadequate research available on soft skills. There are several myths about soft skills since it is still an evolving discipline. It is mistaken for people skills, life skills, life management skills, and emotional intelligence, to name a few. The researchers, scholars, and educators find it hard to arrive at a universal definition of soft skills. They find it harder to create a standard curriculum. Additionally, there is an urgent need to explore tools and techniques to measure soft skills to ensure effective training takeaways. Hence, it calls for intensive research to provide sanctity to this discipline.
What Are Soft Skills?
Skills are usually divided into technical skills and general skills. Some of the general skills that are behavioral fall in the bracket of soft skills. Hence, soft skills are a collection of skills that are essential to survive and succeed in personal, professional, and social life. They are complementary to hard skills. These hard skills are also known as technical skills or domain skills. Soft skills can be described as the effective presentation of hard skills. Additionally, how you say is as important as what you say. That means soft skills are equally important along with hard skills. Hard skills can be seen on your resume while your soft skills can be observed in the employment interview. A judicious blend of hard and soft skills helps one to become a successful professional and excel as an effective leader.
The significance of soft skills
There are innumerable advantages with soft skills. They create a positive impression on others. They build positive relationships. They enhance employability and the longevity of employment. They equip with empathy and communication skills. They decrease employee attrition and engage employees effectively. They promote fraternity and camaraderie, leading to improved organizational performance and productivity. They maximize human capital by offering a higher return on investment. They help lead teams effectively. They eliminate conflicts. If the conflicts are thrust upon, they can be resolved amicably with a win-win outcome. They help make decisions effectively and ensure better customer care and attention. They help persuade others and manage resources effectively. They can be transferred to any job, industry, or organization and are known as transferable skills.
Most C―level leaders don't know about all domains. They utilize others' expertise and align them with organizational goals. They make decisions by consulting their team members. Hence, soft skills help leaders greatly to make decisions successfully.
There is a growing significance attached to soft skills globally. As the war for talent intensifies, the corporate world has realized the significance of leadership development training and soft skills training programs. With the exit of baby boomers, there is a shortage of leadership talent ready in the leadership pipeline because millennials are not adequately equipped with leadership skills. Hence, there is an urgent need to provide leadership development training and soft skills training. The need for soft skills increases as leaders grow from operational level to strategic level of management. Leaders at the senior level, especially C―level, focus on leading the people. There are three skills essential for leaders at all levels―technical skills, human skills, and conceptual skills. As the leaders enter senior and C―level, there is a need to possess more human skills and less technical skills, while the need for conceptual skills remains constant at each level of management. In this context, human skills can be compared with soft skills and technical skills with hard skills.
Soft Versus Hard Skills
Soft skills are different from hard skills. Hard skills are technical skills and domain skills while soft skills are non-domain skills. Hard skills are tangible that are measurable and quantifiable, while soft skills are intangible that cannot be easily measured and quantified. Hard skills are about what you speak, while soft skills are about how you speak with others. Soft skills are a polite and pleasing way of communicating with others, while hard skills are what you contribute in the workplace. Soft skills complement your hard skills. Precisely, soft skills are a presentation of your hard skills in the workplace. Soft skills are interpersonal skills, while hard skills are job-related skills. If hard skills are infrastructure, soft skills are superstructure. If hard skills are the foundation, soft skills are the cement. In fact, a judicious blend of both hard and soft skills is essential to achieve your professional success and fast-track your career.
You can find hard skills on the resume, while you can find soft skills during an employment interview. Hard skills get you an interview, while soft skills help you get your employment. Hence, both hard and soft skills are essential to get a job. After joining employment, soft skills help you survive in the workplace, while hard skills help you prove yourself professionally. Hence, blending both types of skills is imperative in the workplace.
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