Soft Skills. When you hear that term what comes to mind? It sounds like a weak hand shake or watered down cup of coffee. The term does not create inspiring images of empowerment or leadership but do not be deceived by this passive impression. The hidden truth behind soft skills is that they are some of the most formidable skills a professional can possess.
Hard skills are the practical skills need to master a job. Skills like accounting, research, word processing tend to be quantifiable skills easily listed on resume. While hard skills are a necessary component to the value of worker more often than not, HOW this worker does their job is just as important. This is where soft skills become a critical factor in enhancing an employee's value.
Workers who are fluid communicators, problem solvers, creative thinkers, listeners tend to make better leaders and team members. Soft skills like these allow for work environments to me more productive, and have less conflict or tension. Very often the attitude a person takes when approaching a task can be just as important as the hard skills required to do the job. For example, you may be a fantastic fabricator but if you are unable to delegate or worse, you communicate to a team in a way that is contentious or dismissive, fewer people will strive to work with you. Isolation becomes a detriment when team work is necessary.
Other areas where soft skills become an essential enhancement of one's value, being flexible and even-keeled. Stressful situation will always arise. If you are a firefighter remaining calm in the face of an emergency is necessary and peoples lives depend on it. When that same mindset is shared by a leader working in a different industry, panic tends to be avoided when unforeseen challenges arise. The soft skills of critical thinking, delegation, deescalation, and problem solving all become invaluable very quickly- or the team can suffer.
The awareness and acknowledgement of the value soft skills have, has begun to evolve. According to a 2014 career builder article 77% of employers value soft and hard skills equally. There is research to suggest that this number is growing. In a job highly competitive job market having a proficiency in the necessary hard skills in no longer enough. Today, if you want to shine brighter than your colleagues strengthening your soft skills is highly recommended.