“Soft skills” are defined as personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. Your “hard skills” refer to your technical skills and expertise required to do your job.
To highlight the difference between “soft skills” and “hard skills,” imagine the following scenario. You are a company producing solar panels. Your technology is leading-edge within your industry and your sales outrank your competitors. However, as time passes, your competition is able to catch-up and utilize the same technology through license use or developing alternative but similar technology. Suddenly, solar panels across the marketplace are all similar, and your profits are now suffering. While you recognize you may need to develop new technology to beat out your competition, you also realize that you need a new competitive edge.
What is it? Developing the “soft skills” of each member of your team in order to differentiate yourself from the competition. Hard skills are like your technology: anyone can acquire them with training and they are necessary in order to operate in the workplace. Soft skills, on the other hand, are your unique value of offer and enable you to gain a competitive edge within the business arena and ultimately, ‘Outclass the Competition.’
“Soft skills” is also a synonym for people skills – which includes your character, personality and competence. Today, more than ever, your people skills play a huge role in helping you reach your professional goals. A study conducted by Harvard University, The Carnegie Foundation, and the Stanford Research Institute demonstrates this very point. They found that:
Technical skills and knowledge account for 15 percent of the reason you get a job, keep a job, advance in a job. 85 percent of your job success is connected to your people skills.
Bottom line: no one will tell you explicitly, but it is important to know that you will be judged by how well you handle yourself, and others. Your people skills will determine if you are hired or not, let go or retained, passed over or promoted. Your people skills are the prime quality that keep you employable.
Similar to hard skills, soft skills require focus and a lot of practice in order to be successful. Unlike hard skills, there is no standard test measuring how well you can do them. Your measure of success in developing your soft skills is how well you manage your relationships including those with your superiors, co-workers, clients, networking connections, family and friends. How do you rate your soft skills? How confidently, effectively and harmoniously do you interact with others? Are your soft skills holding you back from reaching your career goals? Not sure? I can help.
To learn more about how you can develop your soft skills and reach your professional goals, please contact me for a complimentary 15 minute consultation at ecrotty@bloomstraconsulting. I would love to hear from you!
To Your Success,
After 14 years working as a lawyer and law firm manager, Erin Crotty was ready for a change. Trained through the Protocol School of Washington, Conselle Institute of Image Management, and Pro-Active Business Leadership, Erin is now a certified executive coach, business etiquette and image management expert who has turned her passion into a thriving business – BloomStra Consulting, based in Ottawa, ON.
Erin helps her clients harness the power of etiquette and image management to build successful relationships in business and reach their professional goals. Her clients learn how to increase their confidence and credibility, distinguish themselves in any business or social situation and, ultimately, ‘Outclass the Competition’.