There were times when the hard skills such as literal education, job-specific expertise and experiences were the main and perhaps an only requirement for any job. But now that the times have changed, the requirement for employability has also changed. Now, employers look for hard skills as well as a set of soft skills that increase the overall capacity of employees. So the question arises: What are Soft Skills?
Soft Skills are a combination of a set of skills that comprise of communication skills, organizational skills, time management skills, presentation skills, etc. These skills inform how a person relates to others and can also be termed as an accumulation of interpersonal skills. These set of broad skills are not job related or technical but rather help characterise how one approaches to life. To relate and to communicate with other people in your day to day habits of life, one needs soft skills. The composition of soft skills in an individual helps to tackle a lot of behaviour related problems in the working environment. It helps to handle clients and customers as well as colleagues in the workspace.
Soft Skills act as a medium of smooth functioning of one’s hard skills where necessary. They are broader because they are not job specific but are a general set of skills that help to do a job more effectively. Like hard skills, soft skills can also be learned and mastered but it can be a bit harder to do so.
A few soft skills that are necessary and should be appropriately utilised by working individuals are:
- Communication Skills – The communication skills helps one to understand the aspects of having proficient communication with regards to the different situation and people. Communication needs to be comprehensive and clear or else the true meaning of communication will be lost.
- Decision-Making Skills – This skill is the ability to understand a situation or perspective and contemplate the range of options and reach a particular conclusion. Every individual should be able to assess any given problem or circumstance and assume the results or impact the decisions may bring.
- Self Motivation – To effectively work and put maximum performance, one needs to have a positive attitude towards his work and life in general. It makes one more self-reliant and committed to his work.
- Leadership Skills – To improve the working of teams, leadership skills are required. Even though one may not be managing a team, leadership skills provide a positive attitude and motivation to others. Hence the overall productivity and creativity of the team increase.
- Team-Working Skills – Given any work environment, one needs to work with a team. To effectively work in a team, accumulations of many soft skills are used. Communication, active listening, decision making, leadership skills, etc. are used to reach a common goal as a team.
- Time Management – Meeting demands and deadlines are a usual aspect of the workspace. One needs to learn how to work under pressure and produce asked results in a given time bound period.
- Flexibility- The willingness to adapt and learn to change according to requirements is an important skill to possess. The skill of adaptability signifies the receptiveness towards new ideas as well as new situations and challenges when needed.
Complete utilization of knowledge and hard skills is possible only by acquiring soft skills. It increases productivity and it helps not only in the workspace but it pays off in life more generally.