Thursday, January 13, 2011

What are soft skills?

Soft skills or social skills (also called non-technical skills) are those personal values and interpersonal skills that determine a person's ability to work well with others in a group. These skills differ from 'hard skills', which are easy to observe, quantify and measure, unlike 'soft skills'. 

Soft skills include effective communication, leadership and teamwork skills; demonstrating problem solving abilities, initiative, and motivation skills; displaying honesty and strong work ethics. 

Soft skills play a vital role in academic and professional success; they help us excel in the workplace and their importance cannot be denied in the emerging information or knowledge society. Soft skills are needed to work in a collaborative manner with one's colleagues. 

Types of Soft Skills
There are various components that comprise soft skills. Some are inborn such as confidence, friendliness and some has sociable nature, while others are skills that can be taught or improved upon, such as developing effective communication, organisation and social graces. Following include some of the skills that are needed while working in a corporate environment: 

1. Communication skills
2. Team skills
3. Leadership skills
4. Etiquette
5. Cross-cultural skills

How to develop Soft skills?
Soft skills cannot be acquired by merely reading books. They have to be imbibed and practiced in daily routine. It is a continuous learning process. Development of soft skills has two parts. One part involves developing attitudes and attributes, and other part involves fine-tuning communication skills to express attitudes, ideas and thoughts.  

Perfect integration of ideas and attitudes with appropriate communication skills in oral, written and non-verbal areas is necessary for successful work.