Today’s world as we all know is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
This has led to widespread automation, which in most parts, has made technical skills no longer self-sufficient to navigate through this world.
Humans are likely to be able to handle uncertainties and ambiguity as they can develop, adopt, learn and unlearn systems when faced with a task or goal.
We respond to these better than AI which experiences a breakdown or handicap or limitation in responding to tasks with many interpretations and possibilities.
Soft skills are required to strike a connection within a person or group of persons irrespective of the VUCA nature of world.
What are Soft Skills
Soft skill is a broad term that refers to character traits and attributes that are displayed within a person or translated to a group of persons that enable people to perform well, work well with others and navigate their environment.
A person who has mastered one or more of these attributes can be said to be skilled in that regard.
They are also called Interpersonal skills, Life Skills, People skills, Employable skills, Personality development skills and Behavioural competencies.
To simply put, soft skills are like a beam of light that makes a human stand out from another.
For instance, in a presentation class, the student with greater proficiency in communication as well as technical skills in presentation slides is expected to score better grades.
Soft skills are not a substitute for hard skills, they act as harmonizing skills that unlock the prospective for highly effective performance in people with good technical skills.
Hard Skill vs Soft skills
Hard and soft skills are usually defined using similar concepts or complements. This fact demonstrates how these two different types of abilities are strictly related.
Soft skills are the traits and abilities of behavior rather than knowledge or technical aptitude.
The word “soft” is the opposite of “hard”, which may appear to mean “subjective, fuzzy, and unquantifiable but therein lies the importance of cognition which soft skills provide.
Hard skills include technical or administrative competence. They were the only skills necessary for career employment and are generally quantifiable and measurable from an educational background, work experience, or an interview.
For this reason, employers and companies used to hire new people based only on their objective competencies; how well they could use their technical ability to complete tasks.
The trend has changed in the last years. Candidates with soft skills are in increasing demand as soft skills matched hard skills in the fundamental importance of work success.
Studies by Stanford Research Institute and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation among Fortune 500 CEOs confirm this idea establishing that 75% of long term job success resulted from soft skills and only 25% from technical skills.
|Soft Skills||Hard Skills|
|Subjective: formed based on intuitions from the aware person||Objective: formed from observations of the external environment or the thing the person is aware of.|
|Affective: in relation to the above point with emotions as a deciding factor.||Cognitive; uses logic and rationale|
|Adopts a complex system for measurement and assessment.||educational background, work experience, training, workshops, etc are used to measure and assess hard skills.|
|Executed in the Emotional Quotient||Executed in the Intellectual Quotient|
|Not unique to any particular job||Task or process specific|
Lists of Soft skills
There are widespread examples of soft skills cut across personal, interpersonal, academic and work/career spheres of life. They may be group into:
- Communication Skills
- Leadership and Teamwork
- Interpersonal Skills
- Decision making
- Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
- Ethics and Responsibility
- Positive Attitude and Motivation
- Willingness to learn and unlearn
- Emotional Intelligence
- Time management and Organization
- Courtesy and Etiquette
- Self-discipline and Self-confidence.
Hard Skills Examples List
Hard skills often require the use of tools, software or equipment. Some of them are;
- Technical skills
- Computer skills
- Microsoft Office skills
- Analytical skills
- Marketing skills
- Presentation skills
- Management skills
- Project management skills
- Writing skills
- Language skills
- Design skills
The abilities and skills that help a person to become a complete professional, especially in corporate sectors around the globe, have been seen to be provided by soft skills.
Both hard and people skills are required as fundamental requirements for job/career success. You can not do away with any of them.
There is a saying in the corporate world; “Hard skills will help you get an entry-level job, soft skills will decide your growth within the corporation.”
Life skills are different and distinct from Hard Skills. Life skills are those skills that add more value to the hard skills adorned by an individual.
So it boils down to those attributes that make a person stand out from the norm.
Due to the difficulties in teaching and assessing Life skills, we find that people are not conscious of their soft skills while those who are, overstate their competencies.
It goes without saying, build hard skills and develop life skills to cement it all in place as the later is a binding agent.
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