Updated: Feb 10, 2019
Do you agree? Would you also say that soft skills are more important today than, say, one generation ago, or even 100 years ago? From a purely rational point of view, I would say there is a pretty good case to be made for the increased importance of skills such as listening, convincing through inspiring company presentations, and making an impact on people from all corners of the world. A globally connected service economy, in my opinion, obviously needs more sophisticated soft skills than an economy dominated by farming and manufacturing.
Now, isn’t it interesting that almost 100 years ago, researchers found that 85% of job success came from having soft skills and people skills? I’m convinced this figure has increased today.
Another study suggests that approximately nine out of 10 unsuccessful hires fail due to soft skills. Why is it, then, that we focus so much on getting more certificates, diplomas and degrees? Yes, the first screening before the job interview is often based on your papers. When you’ve managed to get past that, your ability to impact other people, to get things done, and your attitude and personality play a much larger role. It’s what gets you up the corporate ladder once you’ve proven that you have the required hard skills. Soft skills are the skills you should focus on developing if you want to advance in your career.
A friend of mine once said that after 10 years in any given profession, you have acquired all the hard skills of your field: all that’s left is to sharpen your soft skills. Although this is a generalisation and, in addition, there’s the point of keeping abreast of new developments in your field, the reality is that it’s all about the soft skills, especially if you‘re in a leadership position – or striving for one.
Why is it, then, that individuals as well as organisations spend more money on the development of technical skills rather than soft skills?
Why are we still such lousy listeners?
Why do we present such boring presentations at work?
Why isn’t building trusted relationships at work our prime focus?
In my book, How to Make Yourself Promotable – 7 Skills to Climb the Career Ladder, I describe the exact skillsets that will get you the promotion you want. It is also filled with exercises to sharpen these skills!
What are the skills that have made you successful at work? What were the skills that made you promote your staff? Do let me know in the comments!
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