Wednesday, 5 August 2015

When you begin to seriously job hunt, you will hear talk about two sets of skills. These you will definitely identify during the interviews with sometimes the interviewers being more interested in who you are other than what you have accomplished academically. Soft skills goes beyond your academic accomplishments. It is about interpersonal skills which are important in your interaction with others.

At the beginning, this was strange to me. You have the skills for the job so what is the big deal with these soft skills? I have learnt overtime the significance of these soft skills. Firstly, there are so many persons competing with high degrees that you need something to give you the edge. However, it is more than just getting that edge.

As a business owner, you want to see your business grow. You want an environment that will encourage customers. You need people who will make your customers feel welcome and not drive them away with their snobbishness. Have you ever gone into an organization, where you feel like you are being ignored even though the person at the front desk stares you right in your face from time to time or it appears that they have to finish their conversation with their friends whether on the phone or in front of your face before they finally ask how they can help? How about the way they address you after they finally engage you, as if you are a bother and it is not their job?

Outside of this, a business/organization leader needs a team that works well with each other. If they don't, you will spend time trying to manage those issues, precious time that you could have spent investing in making your business more profitable. Even the leader himself needs those soft skills to lead. Who wants a person who talks down to them? Every time you see them you are on egg shells, not out of respect, but fear. Have you ever spoken to anyone who after they finish, you feel like if you can move mountains and you are ready to accomplish the goals of the organization? How about the opposite...a person whose very presence depresses you and by the time they finish speaking you are angered, hurt, just want to go home and never come back, but you just have to because you need the money. In the latter, persons are working, but the organization is not growing and if it does, it is slower than the pace it could have been, had there been a better working relationship amongst the team.

Hard skills are easier to accomplish and sometimes people beat their chests having accomplish these, but they can can never be great leaders until they master the soft skills. According to Investopedia, hard skills are learned and perfected over time, while soft skills are harder to acquire and even change. This is because the soft skills has to do with who we are which determines how we interact with others, rather than what we know. Anyone can acquire the hard skills and maybe even better than you have, but those soft skills is about your PERSONALITY.

So if you are playing a major part in any organization or maybe even a minor part, but some how it appears as if no one likes you, everyone has something negative to say about you and clearly do not want to work with you, assess your soft skills. How well do you work with others and engage people? Is it all about you or are you also interested in them, what they have to say, the role they are playing etc etc While the problem may be them just teaming up against you,  it might just be linked to your interpersonal skills which are yet to be developed. Soft skills are just as important and may be even more important, in some cases, than your hard skills.