In a world of disruptive technologies, a one-size-fits all approach no longer works. Most of us grew up in an educational system that didn’t promote, teach or encourage soft skills.

We were bombarded with rote memorization, repetitive learning, and subjects that have no bearing on our actual daily lives.

· We’re told to speak up, but not taught how to present.

· We’re told to network but never taught how to communicate with people.

· We’re told ‘what’ to think and never taught ‘how’ to think.

· We’re taught knowledge reproduction instead of knowledge creation.

Education is derived from the Latin word ‘Educo’ which means to draw out or develop from within. but the traditional education system does the opposite. They pour in people rather than draw out.

“Empathy is patiently and sincerely seeing the world through the other person’s eyes. It is not learned in school; it is cultivated over a lifetime.” ~Albert Einstein

Image: Capital Placement

What are soft skills?

According to Indeed, Soft skills are abilities that relate to how you work and how you interact with other people.

Soft skills are simply personality traits and behaviour we use to interact with people at work and in our day-to-day life.

Soft skills are often used by careers advisors and employers to describe essential personal skills and social capabilities people need to be able to manage their jobs and relationships in the workplace.

Whether you are at school, in training, in business or in traditional employment. The best thing about soft skills is you don’t need qualifications to get them and you can start working on them right away.

Some examples of soft skills are communication, listening, problem-solving, creativity, curiosity, time management, etc.

Soft skills tend to come from life experience rather than academic institutions. People with good soft skills tend to have strong situational awareness and emotional intelligence to navigate difficult working environments.

Thriving as humans in the new robotic era.

What it means to be human is currently being redefined in the fast-changing world. It used to be that all it took was an academic qualification to be successful in the workplace but that is no longer the case.

However, humans can change as fast as the world, but to do so, we need to question ourselves. What does it really mean to be human? What is it that we need to thrive in this changing world? And how can we use technology to amplify, not overtake, our uniquely human traits?

Soft skills will help us thrive in a world where relentless change is the new norm. We need to take back control, reframe the argument and start putting humans — not technology — first. We need to be more human to thrive in the new robotic era.

Image: H Heyerlein/Unsplash

Being more human is our need to feel understood and valued as individuals. Be it online or face to face. Soft skills facilitate human connection.

A real authentic human connection and basic compassion will always win and this is what makes soft skills the ultimate alpha skills.

Soft Skills make us humans and that’s something machines can’t take away from us. Being a good well rounded human being is good for life and business. Ultimately people are the legs of the table, the true foundation of any company.

As the workplace continues to evolve and the world undergoes constant upheaval, the importance of “soft skills” cannot be overstated. Being a good person and caring about others is an undervalued skill in the business world.

While more traditional technical “hard skills “are still needed for day-to-day success, soft skills have become crucial attributes in an increasingly competitive world.

You need to have the ability to motivate people to bring their best efforts to the table. You have to influence hearts and minds to win.

Always remember you’re interacting with another human being who may be trying to solve a problem that has a personal and a business connection. Try to take the approach of sitting in their shoes. Find out what is important to them and why.

In 2017, Deloitte also reported that “soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030”

Previously, soft skills were considered a “nice to have” in business but they are now more important than hard skills. Soft skills boost productivity, builds better teams and employee retention.

The old saying goes: “People won’t care until they know that YOU care”.

The best way to show that you care is through communication. And so, it is beneficial to sharpen your soft skills including your emotional quotient to be more effective in doing life and executing your duties.

Soft skills have been dominant in business areas like marketing, sales, and similar spheres for a long time. However, with the advancement of technology, the emphasis on communication in more areas of business and life has increased exponentially.

Soft skills should stay SOFT!

Some people argue the name “soft skills” undermines the importance of this set of skills and there may be some truth to that.

However, I’m all for the new world of letting soft skills stay soft. Let’s speak more often of compassion, belonging, understanding, humanity, friendship, love, forgiveness, connection and much more.

Soft is not the same as weak, easy or unimportant. These are all different things. There’s nothing softer than water yet it’s water that makes way through the toughest of rocks.

“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” ~Lao-Tzu

Image: Capital Placement

Soft skills are essential life skills and these skills should continue being called soft so that we radically shift our culture to appreciate the softer things in life.

Would you rather prefer something along the lines of “interaction skills” or “career skills” or “life skills” or “success skills” or something else? Whatever you choose to call them, remember “soft” doesn’t mean weak in any way, shape or form!

Water is soft and humble, but it is the most powerful and is the most endurable.

If you as a leader who wants to stay relevant in your profession, you will need to focus on skills and capabilities that artificial intelligence has trouble replicating — such as empathy, understanding, motivating, and interacting with human beings.

A smart machine might be able to diagnose an illness and even recommend treatment better than a doctor. But it takes a person, however, to sit with a patient, understand their life situation and help determine what treatment plan is optimal.

A lot of people seem to miss this concept of soft skills but its truly the way to distinguish yourself in a competitive world of work and life in general. Soft skills are the biggest key to career advancement and opportunities.

The hard truth about lack of soft skills.

Nearly every job requires employees to engage with others in some way and if you don’t have people skills and don’t understand people, they become arbitrary. This may lead to people screwing you over and over for no reason. You’ll waste a lot of energy being angry and depressed.

You might also think people’s actions have something to do with you when in fact they don’t. This will mess with your self-image and hinder your interactions with other people.

You’ll have a lot of trouble resolving conflicts because good conflict resolution requires both parties to see things from the other person’s perspective. This will cause you to lose friends and put you at a disadvantage in your career. It also makes people dislike and avoid you.

Therefore, increasing your soft skills begins with self-awareness. Start monitoring your own thoughts, emotions, reactions and adjust accordingly and in so doing you’d build the ultimate alpha skills — soft skills.

The new world order will be built around people, culture and community and COMMUNITY is everything!

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Check Out my Book – Disrupt Yourself Or Be Disrupted

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