Soft skills are learned and practiced throughout the course of one’s life – Anonymous.
Hard and Soft
Hard skills such as administration, management, first aid, scheduling, billing, coding, data entry, and knowledge of Microsoft applications such as excel require months or years of education complete with a degree or certification. These skills are vital and relate to one’s ability to do and complete a task. These resume skills are foundational to determining how an employer chooses potential employees. Now, employers include soft skills as part of their hiring determination score. With the rise of remote and hybrid roles, Deloitte, a professional services company, reports that 90% of companies are redesigning roles to combine technical and soft skills. Soft skills, such as empathy, teamwork, and communication, are not quantifiable on a resume but relate to how an employee performs their job. While hard skills are knowledge-based, soft skills are relationally based. They help us connect and work well with others. When technical skills between two candidates are similar, soft skills are the separating factor. LinkedIn data reveals, “Hard skills can help you get a recruiter’s attention, but soft skills can help you land the job.”
Life’s Soft Skills
Although soft skills have become vital and valuable to the hiring process, they are equally crucial to life. Social and emotional skills increase our relational equity. Our relationships benefit and grow on the fertile ground of soft skills. How we view and value people at any given time determines how much effort we give to the application of soft skills. When we use cultural, racial, tribal, or material lenses to view people, our value of them is restricted to those factors. In turn, our commitment to soft skills for relationship building is affected. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I do not like that man, I must get to know him better.” Instead of rushing to quick judgment of people, soft skills like empathy allow the time to pause and decide to overlook any prejudice and bias to create relational bridges instead of walls. When we create walls where a potential relationship can develop, we starve each other of one of the basic human needs; a sense of connection.
As a parent of two girls aged two and six, emotional intelligence is crucial to keep my emotions in check and stay calm enough to turn heated moments into teachable ones. As soon as I think I have it down, a tantrum would flare up, driving me close to the cliff of an emotional outburst. Emotional intelligence helps me reign in my negative emotions, which would only increase the burn rate of my relational equity with my children. Soft skills for life is the focus of October’s blog series.
As the demand for soft skills grows in the workplace, there is an equal demand for soft skills in a world that is in bad shape economically, morally, and relationally. Here is a preview of this month’s content:
Listening, scheduled for release on October 13th, sounds like an obvious soft skill because we have two ears, but you will be surprised by how many people have lost the art of listening despite still possessing their sense of hearing. Listening is deeper than receiving information and involves more than our ears. Listening gives you a differential advantage in relationship building.
Adaptability, releasing on October 20th, is a skill to be desired against the backdrop of an ever-changing world. Without nimbleness, life will zoom by us as we struggle to respond positively to change and make it our friend and not our enemy. The fear of change turns us into relics of the past and renders us inoperable and ineffective in our current times. Our lives diminish in effectiveness when we fail to embrace adaptability. By making small intentional shifts over time, we become adaptable. In the words of Thomas Edgely, “Change or die.”
The final topic, Soft Skills Test: What Is Your Relational Intelligence Quotient (R.Q.)?, which releases on October 27th, will present a set of questions to help take stock of our relational skills and highlight areas for improvement Rather than focusing on a score, this test is meant to give pause for reflection and motivation to make adjustments for the better.
Final Thought: We learn soft skills in the classroom of life. Through interaction with others, we not only develop but also sharpen these important relational skills. Soft skills provide the canvas on which we build and maintain valuable relationships. Moreover, they temper our biases and prejudices and permit us to commit to being better relationally.
Keep on Keeping on!