Importance Of Soft Skills In Career Advancements

Interpersonal relationships, our ability to succeed in today's environment is also reliant upon, other social influences as a skill in leading teams and organisations.

We live in a highly disruptive world today, the VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous). The global job market is undergoing structural transformations and various drivers are changing the demand and requirements of the job market. The workplace has evolved dynamics, that cannot be ignored, and mere functional ability is no longer a passport to success. Soft skills are proven to be a defining factor between managerial mediocrity and superior career progression.

What are Soft Skills?

Wikipedia interestingly and rightly defines Soft skills as ‘common skills’ or ‘core skills’ and says these are skills that are desirable in all professions.

Soft skills are attributes that influence how best one understands oneself and can work or manage complexity with simplicity. These skills make it easier to form relationships with people, create trust and dependability, and lead teams globally and effectively.

Are Soft skills often more important than hard skills for Career Advancement?

Noted a comment on a professional social media platform, ‘Working with colleagues that have soft skills to complement their hard skills is much smoother than working with colleagues that are highly capable with their hard skills but lack soft skills’ says a professional when asked ‘What is more important Soft Skills or Hard Skills’ in an internal post.

To quote a recent research finding at SHRM, ‘Ninety-seven per cent of employers surveyed said that soft skills were more important than hard skills. Also, 46 per cent of new employees fail within 18 months and of these, 89 per cent fail because of a lack of soft skills.’

Yet another recent research report by iCIMS finds that 94 per cent of recruiting professionals believe an employee with stronger soft skills has a better chance of being promoted to a leadership position than an employee with more years of experience but weaker soft skills.

Hence it has become that vital to develop these skills if we want to progress in our careers.

What is the most important soft skill to excel in your career?

Emotional Intelligence, People Management, Leadership skills, Decision Making, or any other. Almost all the Soft Skills are equally important to hone for Career progression.

The World Economic Forum advises us on the essential skills for today, from their Job skill report 2020 which states the below 10 skills as most important:

  1. Analytical thinking and innovation
  2. Complex problem-solving
  3. Critical thinking and analysis
  4. Active learning and learning strategies
  5. Creativity and initiative
  6. Attention to detail, trustworthiness
  7. Emotional intelligence
  8. Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation
  9. Leadership and social influence
  10. Coordination and time management

It is all about Decision-making Skills for Global Leaders

Global Leaders are expected to have high decision-making ability. Analytical thinking and Critical thinking are the mental processes that define the ability to solve complicated issues to make sound decisions by evaluating datasets, based on the principles of Complex problem-solving. You may be analytical if your question first and answer last. Voltaire famously counselled that one should “judge a man by the questions he asks rather than his answers.” The most important part of creative thinking is as well your ability to generate ideas and innovate. Ideation and Innovation are yet another set of important skills mentioned within the findings.

‘For CEOs today, it’s all about achieving growth and efficiency through innovation’ and how differently they can position their business model. Active learning and learning strategies, are indeed skills to develop consciously to equip ourselves. We constantly should be upgrading ourselves with the necessary skills, knowledge to enhance our productivity and efficiency. Like Steve Jobs said – "Never settle"

Leadership and Coordination skills - the essentials for Career Advancements

Covid-19 has made collaboration and communication skills even more critical. Attention to detail, trustworthiness are all so important to develop. Besides interpersonal relationships, our ability to succeed in today's environment is also reliant upon, other social influences as a skill in leading teams and organisations.

Research by the Capgemini Institute has found that skills related to emotional intelligence—such as self-awareness, influence, relationship management, or empathy—are going to be a must-have in the near future and that an organization's long-term success will be heavily influenced by having an emotionally intelligent workforce.

Reskilling or Upskilling what is required for Career Growth

The robot revolution will create 97 million new jobs. The most competitive professionals will be those that choose to either reskill or upskill. The terminology of reskilling and upskilling might be synonymous to each other, but they imply a completely different meaning. Upskilling – the process of learning new skills to upgrade your current job. Reskilling – the process of learning new skills so you can do a different job. 

Which one matters more, upskilling or reskilling?

It will depend on your current career need for your career advancements.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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