Building on these skills not only enhances your personal brand, but helps you stand out from competition. Constant upskilling of both hard and soft skills is important in order to keep abreast with the latest developments in the market. High interpersonal skills go a long way in building a good first impression, and also boosts trust amongst internal and external clients. Soft skill development requires a high learning orientation, which can be cultivated over a period of time.
Soft skills often known as human skills, or even thrive skills, are as important as technical skills, and their importance is rising in the new post-pandemic world. High interpersonal skills, listening skills, time management and deep empathy play a crucial role in your professional journey, and help one get ahead in the workplace. Astute negotiations skills can also differentiate you from the crowd. After all, we tend to make many negotiations on a day-to-day basis and so we need to learn how to analyse contexts, evaluate alternatives and apply the most appropriate tactics.
Building on these skills not only enhances your personal brand, but helps you stand out from competition. Constant upskilling of both hard and soft skills is important in order to keep abreast with the latest developments in the market. High interpersonal skills go a long way in building a good first impression, and also boosts trust amongst internal and external clients. Soft skill development requires a high learning orientation, which can be cultivated over a period of time
There are very few careers these days in which an employee works in isolation. Rather one is usually surrounded by people in the guise of teams, peers, clients and of course, the boss. Working in effective harmony in teams, having the ability to manage teams and leadership skills are also important by-products of soft skills. There is little doubt that at every level of leadership in an organization, be it at mid or senior level, it is mastering people that matters. This is what Katz wrote about as far back as 1955, in a classical Harvard Business Review article, where he described a three-skill approach in which a person needs to be able to master conceptual, human and technical skills. Conceptual skill is about working with abstract ideas and is important at the senior managerial level, while technical skill refers to proficiency in skills and procedures and is important at the lower levels of leadership. It is human skill, or the ability to work with all types of people, which he says is important for leaders at all levels of management. This has implications for driving organizational efficiency and employee growth.
While understanding the people around you is imperative, so too is a deep understanding of yourself. While most of us think that we know ourselves better than others know us, this is often a flawed belief. Very often our self-perception does not match with the perception that others have of us. And so, boosting your emotional quotient is also important – which means understanding yourself, others around you, and then managing all those emotions. EQ is said to be the differentiator these days (as per David Goleman) – more than IQ. The new mantra is that it is your EQ that gets you ahead in terms of growth, rather than IQ or cultural quotient.
Says Daniel Goleman, author of the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence: “If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” Of course, there are many ways to increase your emotional intelligence (EI), including asking for feedback from those who are not your closest colleagues or friends. In fact, executive education should have student being taught to work on improving their EI, given that this is one type of intelligence that can be enhanced by up to 40%, and also other types of intelligences such as cultural intelligence.
Organizations can also look at enhancing employee effectiveness through better people management. This includes resolving explicit and implicit bias, conflict management including recognizing and managing passive-aggressive behavior of team members and clients, and the importance of retention through employee engagement.
To sum up, the hard truth is that soft skills are the future. Those poised to enter the job market need to be trained not only in technical know-how, but also in soft skills. This can separate the chaff from the wheat, and in doing so provide employees with a springboard for a successful and enriching career.