Soft Skills - What are they?

If you are a result-oriented person please pay close attention as it may change the way you think about priorities!

Some background…

“Soft Skills” is a term that got embedded in the corporate world that has a very general & shallow understanding. Furthermore, the term “Soft Skills Training” is often viewed as a “nice thing” to train your staff with.  It also happens to be the first corporate training program that is dropped when there are budget cuts, which says, that in the scale of importance for Employee Engagement Training it does not rank very high in the actionable priorities of corporate management and leadership.

Yet, the facts are different! And, as usual, facts and perceptions are two entirely different things.

“A perception trumps a fact any day of the week”, most people’s minds are filled with perceptions that in many cases have nothing to do with facts, but that’s another story for another article.

Here is a fact that one may wish to take into account:

Studies show that 85% of workforce firings are due to lack of Soft Skills and only 15% are due to lack of technical & domain skills.

It makes one wonder doesn’t it…since most corporate training is heavily biased towards domain and technical skills?

Why is there a misconception about Soft Skill Training?

Because Soft Skills cannot be quantified and bottom lined. They are part of an ongoing personal development process which is continuous and cannot be put in a box!

Soft Skills deal with human to human engagement, not with understanding how to work a machine or operate a computer. Humans have feelings, thoughts, emotions, worries, concerns, ups and downs, insecurities, fears, talents, skills, imagination, moods, humor, creativity, hidden abilities, genius (after all it’s the human who invented the computer and at the same time could tell a joke!) and many other qualitative aspects that cannot be dealt with in a hard way. 

Humans which are the main stake holders of any and all organizations in the world, are soft by nature (don’t be fooled by the portrayed hardness of the “so called leaders”). So Soft Skills is the art that enables humans to deal with humans as humans should be dealt with, and that is far more intricate than a computer or a machine. Soft Skills require a great deal of finesse, sensitivity and competence. Therefore, Soft Skills Training is the best investment that a company can have for its own future. It yields the best long term results.

Some locating questions…

1.    Could it be that the concept of “Being” is not understood as the main energy booster for “Actionable Doing”?

2.    Could it be that the society as a whole is so focused on an elusive bottom line, that it cannot grasp the importance of the concept Success in Process?

3.    Could it be that the concept of Bottom Line it is not understood to be connected to a Top Line by the corporate leadership?

4.    Is it understood that Top Line training (Soft Skills Training) is qualitative, and Bottom Line training (Hard Skills) is quantitative, and that both depend on each other?

As a professional with over a quarter of a century experience in Soft Skills Training within the general corporate training scenario, it is most definitely my assessment that this body of skills, that is referred to as Soft Skills, is totally misunderstood, and moreover it’s value is tremendously underrated to the long term success of the company, in terms of personal effectiveness and productivity. 

How to view Soft Skill Training? 

Soft Skills are human-to-human skills, and the term Soft Skills originates from the fact that humans are soft creatures, and dealing softly is much more in accordance with the human design. Beating people over the head, and using fear and punishment tactics, or bullying people, never really worked as a leadership strategy, certainly not in the long-term.

In fact, what it does, is to infect workers with the social disease referred to as “anemic compliance”, which basically means that they never think creatively out of the box, take risks or personal responsibility.

In other words, workers become limited to about 20% of their potential.  To put it bluntly, people in the work place today are not thought of as valuable human being but rather seen as an expandable “Commodity” with limited shelf life.

The sad thing is that very few object to this state of affairs because most everyone has accepted that this is the way of doing business.

It begs the question, is this how of modern day slavery looks?!

Are there better ways to operate in this new business environment that can yield much better results?

Contact me to find out.

Eli Harari

The Thinking Coach™

Photograp by: BOOTCAMP LEARNING - http://www.bootcamplearning.in/soft-skills-training.html