Soft Skills

Reviewed by Annapoorna | Updated on Aug 01, 2021


What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills refer to character traits and interpersonal skills that characterise the relationship of a person with other people. At the workplace, soft skills complement hard skills, which refer to a person's knowledge and occupational skills. Sociologists term 'soft skills' to describe a person's emotional Intelligence quotient (EQ) as opposed to intelligence quotient (IQ).

Soft skills mostly concern with who people are rather than what they know. Usually, they embrace character traits of how well one interacts with others and a definite part of an individual's personality. Hard skills can be mastered over time, but soft skills are more difficult to obtain and change. For example, the soft skills required for a doctor would be empathy, good understanding, and active listening. On the other hand, the hard skills required for a doctor includes a wide comprehension of illnesses, the ability to read the test results and symptoms, and a careful understanding of anatomy and physiology.

Soft Skills Explained

Employers check for a balance between hard skills and soft skills for hiring decisions. For instance, employers value skilled workers having a track record of getting work done on time. Employers also appreciate workers with strong communication skills and a strong knowledge of the products and services of the company.

Despite not working in the sales or marketing domain, the workers with employee skills can put together compelling presentations when communicating with prospective clients. Another example of a valued soft skill is to coach coworkers on specific or new tasks.

Company leaders usually are most effective when they possess strong, soft skills. For instance, good speaking abilities and good listening abilities, especially to workers and to other leaders in their fields are soft skills.

Negotiation is an important part of the job for many company leaders. When negotiating with clients, employees, or associates, leaders need to be able to be attentive of what others want while staying focused on pushing for what they want. Good leaders also need to make their work efficient by strategically delegating tasks to workers.

Soft skills profit businesses when they are trained on a company-wide basis. For instance, a team spirit among workers is important. Productivity and output improve when workers collaborate by sharing knowledge and tools to get work done.

The ability to learn new ways and also technologies is a desired soft skill for all workers. Companies that give value to learning as a soft skill recognise various learning styles and support workers to follow the methods that work best for them.

Good troubleshooting is a soft skill that also is relevant to companies. For example, companies can function more efficiently when all workers understand how to troubleshoot software issues instead of depending upon the information technology (IT) department for every fix.

Soft Skills in India

The Central Ministry of Skill Development And Entrepreneurship had approved for another four years (2016-2020) to benefit 10 million youth known as Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).

The Training Centres (TCs) set up by the PMKVY is expected to serve persons of Indian nationality either school/college dropouts or unemployed.

Other than training as per the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), TCs will also deliver training in entrepreneurship, soft skills, financial and digital literacy. The duration of the training varies per job role, ranging between 150 and 300 hours.

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