This particular blog is written by Syed Asim Habib, Senior Manager HR and Consulting.
An educational definition of Soft Skills is “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.” Broadly, soft skills like critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and adaptability are necessary for all employees to have. It refers to skills like collaboration, problem solving, conflict resolution, and communication, which have more to do with how you act than what you know. Much of the time, these soft skills have to be seen “in action” and can be difficult to objectively measure (unlike technical qualifications, which can be tested). However, when we look around us, it is usually fairly easy to find those employees lacking soft skills. Soft skills can’t be learned by just studying about them. They have to be learned through a process of change that can be difficult and uncomfortable at times, but it can have dramatic effects on your company’s bottom line. The following six-step process is a basic overview:
- Willingness to Change
It is an important prerequisite. We cannot force people to become more self-aware; each individual must be willing to begin the process of change themselves. If this foundation building block is absent, there isn’t much that can be learned through this process. There are many good resources available for creating “readiness for change.”
While learning soft skills is not mere “book learning,” there still must be an area of education on best practices. There are many book available in the market, wherefrom we can learn and attain necessary knowledge and education about what are soft skills, and by applying what methods, we can develop them in ourselves.
It is one thing to know the best practices–it is another to know how we stack up against them. Assessments help to evaluate where we stand (areas of strength and areas in need of improvement) as well as to describe the natural tendencies an individual has. It is important to include both self-assessments and assessments that include input from others, as both types give important feedback.
Once we as professionals have learned more about us (strengths, faults, tendencies, etc.), it is necessary to reflect on what have we learnt. Are we humble enough to realize that we aren’t perfect? Are we willing to put in the effort to grow even though it may be difficult and uncomfortable? Can we understand our natural tendencies and see how we interact with others?
Soft skills do not work in a vacuum. They have to be put into practice in “real life” over a long period of time. Some failures are inevitable, but eventually growth will come.
All professionals irrespective of their seniority and position, should try to see that upto what extent, we are good enough in our Soft Skills.
Syed Asim Habib