According to Wikipedia, these are combination of interpersonal people skills, social skills, communication skills, character traits, attitudes, career attributes, social intelligence and emotional intelligence quotients among others that enable people to effectively navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals with complementing hard skills. The Collins English Dictionary defines the term “soft skills” as “desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude.”
Now follow me on this concept. Soft skills are a cluster of productive personality traits that characterize one’s relationships in a milieu. These skills can include social graces, communication abilities, language skills, personal habits, cognitive or emotional empathy, time management, teamwork and leadership traits. A definition based on review literature explains soft skills as an umbrella term for skills under key three functional elements people skills, social skills and personal career attributes. National Business Education Association deems soft skills as critical for being industrious in today’s workplace. Soft skills complement hard skills also known as technical skills, for productive workplace performance and everyday life competencies (Arkansas Department of Education, 2007). Hard skills were the only skills necessary for career employment and were generally quantifiable and measurable from educational background, work experience or through interview. In the 20th century soft skills are a major differentiator, a sine qua non for employability and success in life. A study conducted by Harvard University noted that 80% of achievements in career are determined by soft skills and only 20% by hard skills. Experts say soft skills training should begin for a person when they are students, to perform efficiently in their academic environment as well as in their future workplace. Now watch this, a public interest study conducted by McDonald’s in UK predicted over half a million people will be held back from job sectors by 2020 due to lack of soft skills.
How developing soft skills led Femi to success.
“First thing is it’s hard to define soft skills. The best way to say it is how to get along. I think that’s my definition of soft skills. How to get along. I think it’s lost on most people. First of all, most people don’t know you actually can be coached, or it’s actually a discipline, or you can learn what soft skills are.”
-Femi Akinde, CEO of Slimtrader
Soft skills may be difficult to define, but Femi Akinde still realized how essential they are for his business. He came to understand that this set of skills related to emotional intelligence can and must be learned for him to succeed.
A person’s soft skill is an important part of their individual contribution to the success of an organization. Organizations which deal with customers face-to-face are generally more successful if they promote activities for staffs to develop these skills through wellness enhancing programs.
Training or rewarding for personal habits or traits such as dependability and conscientiousness can yield significant return on investment for an organization. For this reason, soft skills are increasingly sought out by employers in addition to standard qualifications.
Top ten soft skill attributes for business executives and staff.
Following is a list of soft skills combined for all organisational members.
1. Communication- oral, speaking capability, written, presenting, listening.
2. Courtesy – manners, etiquette, business etiquette, gracious, says please and thank you, respectful.
3. Flexibility – adaptability, willing to change, lifelong learner, accepts new things, adjusts, teachable.
4. Integrity – honest, ethical, high morals, has personal values, does what’s right.
5. Interpersonal skills – nice, personable, sense of humor, friendly, nurturing, empathetic, has self-control, patient, sociability, warmth, social skills.
6. Positive attitude – optimistic, enthusiastic, encouraging, happy, confident.
7. Professionalism – businesslike, well-dressed, appearance, poised.
8. Responsibility – accountable, reliable, gets the job done, resourceful, self-disciplined, wants to do well, conscientious, common sense.
9. Teamwork – cooperative, gets along with others, agreeable, supportive, helpful, collaborative.
10. Work ethic – hard working, willing to work, loyal, initiative, self-motivated, on time, good attendance.
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