What are soft skills?
Have you ever thought about the right skills to be acquired to get your desired job? It is a mix of hard skills and more importantly soft skills. Soft skills are less quantifiable when compared to hard skills. It is essential for you to have hard skills but your interviewer also looks at your soft skills in order to verify if you are an apt personality fit for the company.
Are soft skills different from hard skills?
What is the difference between hard skills and soft skills? Hard skills are about reading, writing, analytical abilities and other functional aspects of the job. Soft skills on the other hand, are related to your personality, communication with your colleagues, personal habits and much more. Hard skills are the necessary qualities for the job but if you don’t have the correct set of soft skills, it’s an uphill task to clear the interviews. Globalization has taken the world by storm and organisations are adapting to each change so that they can take care of the most important part of their business – customer or the client. We can’t undermine the value of a person who is not only adroit but also great at handling customers. Such a person who has not only the hard but also the soft skills is an asset to the organisation.
TCS emphasises on Soft skills
TCS, the largest software exporter of India recently has impressed upon the need to develop communication and soft skills of the students. It has mentioned that educational institutes need to pay special attention to such skills so that the candidates are business ready. TCS also launched the Campus Commune Portal in 2012 to help students network with their peers, share experiences and resolve their queries on an online platform.
Soft skills are also related with emotional intelligence in a lot of cases. EI refers to the capacity to monitor one’s emotions and also of other people. It also looks at differentiating between types of emotions and labelling them appropriately so as to guide the person towards responsible behaviour. No man is an island and hence personality of a man has an effect on his or her colleagues which in turn influences culture at workplace. Therefore the importance of soft skills trainings is paramount.
Let us look at prime examples of soft skill:
Communication skills: People with good communication skills are adept to convey information either through writing or reading.
Interpersonal skills: Other than communication skills, you need to listen to people at workplace without judging them at face value. This requires interpersonal skills which aid your personality growth inside the organisation.
Time Management skills: With multitasking becoming the buzz word and clients posting stringent deadlines, it’s critical that you manage your time well so that not only your professional but your personal life doesn’t go for a toss.
Professionalism: It’s tough to define this term but you are expected to be a true professional at your workplace. It encompasses punctuality, showing empathy towards your peers, being accountable for your decisions and taking responsibility for your team.
Why soft skills are important?
How often have you come across at a higher position in a company and not gel well with his/her colleagues? The answer is very few. Soft skills aid us in effectively using our technical skills for everyday work. They help us in meeting deadlines, in our interaction with customers and colleagues and also how people perceive us by our behaviour and conduct.
Hay Group Global Managing director said recently that the organisations are observing a skewed generation joining their ranks across the world. These people have wonderful technical but not so appreciable soft skills. This generation will find it difficult to build and harbour relationships. According to their research, 77% Indians who were surveyed believe that they would succeed in India regardless of soft skills. Some even felt that such skills can be a bottle neck at workplace.
But we need to think at this matter rationally. Take up any job description. Other than the technical skills specified, there is a list of qualities you need to have redundant across job profiles. Team player, excellent communication and presentation skills and many more jargons have the candidates in a jiffy. You may be strong technically but if you don’t possess such skills, you can be left behind in the rat race. A lot of times, it’s also important to listen to your peers rather than speaking at every opportunity. People need time and space when dealing with issues. Listening skills come handy in such situations.
We can’t deny the growing importance of empathy as a soft skill at our offices. More and more leaders stress in this skill as a harbinger of good workplace vibes. An attitude of openness and understanding towards team members can go a long way in strengthening the bonds.
As we have seen these are the reasons why soft skills are being taught by several firms and indeed are one of the potent tools to get yourself a job and also sustain your success at the top.