BEYOND EXPERTISE: THE IMPORTANCE OF SOFT SKILLS IN THE MODERN WORKPLACE

BEYOND EXPERTISE: THE IMPORTANCE OF SOFT SKILLS IN THE MODERN WORKPLACE

Dr.Vivekananth Padmanabhan| HOD IT|Soft Skills Trainer

Imagine a scenario where you are asked to speak in a meeting suddenly. Will you be confident enough to articulate and express your ideas without any hesitation?

Think of a situation where you are asked to write a report about an event that took place in your office recently. Will you enjoy writing the report?

If it is a yes for both questions, congratulations! You have a critical skill called “soft skills”!

There are two types of skills:

a) Hard skills

b) Soft skills

“Hard skills” are domain-related skills that vary across domains, and the development of these skills depends on the aptitude of the students. For example, a student of aeronautical engineering needs analytical skills, whereas a student of the arts needs creativity to be a successful artist.

Some skills are common irrespective of the domain, and skills such as interpersonal skills and communication skills are called “soft skills”.

Do you know that according to a combined study by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and the Stanford Research Center, 85% of job success comes from well-developed soft skills?

(National Soft Skills Association, 2015)

Based on the statistics, it is understood that students should be nurtured to develop a diversified skill set that includes domain-related skills, interpersonal skills, and communication skills.

Let’s take an example. Supposing John is a supervisor of a production firm, he finds out that the productivity of employees has reduced in the past 3 months. How does John deal with this situation? There are multiple options: terminating the employees, warning the employees, or motivating the employees. The answer will be based on his or her interpersonal skills. If John has well-developed interpersonal skills, he or she will train or motivate employees as a first option.

What are interpersonal skills?

Interpersonal skills are diversified skills that help us face day-to-day challenges; these skills include listening, team spirit, negotiating, problem-solving, decision-making, and assertiveness. Students in universities should be given tasks that foster their interpersonal skills. 

For example, students can be asked to work on a group project, which will enable them to develop their team spirit.

Why are communication skills integral to one’s professional development?

Let’s take an example: suppose a marketing manager should negotiate a deal. The way he communicates determines whether the deal is successful or not. Good communication should be up-to-date, precise, and persuasive.

Students in universities can be trained to develop soft skills by promoting activities such as debates, public speaking, role plays, and seminars.

In conclusion, the students should be nurtured to develop appropriate interpersonal and communication skills to enable overall personal and professional development and success in life.

Are you going to develop your ‘soft skills’ apart from your ‘hard skills’?

This is the difference that can make a difference.

References:

  1. The soft skills disconnect, National Soft Skills Association, 2015.
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