It is a well-established fact that soft skills play a critical role in success in workplace. Some say that 85% of success is due to soft skills while only 15% is due to technical skills or hard skills. Whether you believe that statistic or not does not matter. What does matter is the fact that soft skills do play a significant role in the success of any organization . This we all can agree upon. If this is the case, then why is so little time spent in our schools and training programs on teaching soft skills?
Here are some possible reasons this lack of soft skills training:
- Hard skills are based upon knowledge while soft skills are not.
- Hard skills can be objectively assessed and soft skills cannot.
- Soft skills are like IQ, people are just born with them.
- When soft skills are taught, they may or may not be used in real life.
- Soft skills are touchy feely and of no use in the real world.
Let’s take a closer look at these irrational reasons for not teaching soft skills:
Hard skills are based upon knowledge while soft skills are not.
This false assumption is perhaps the most common reason why soft skills are not taught. Think about it, just as it is possible to identify the duties and tasks of an expert customer service representative it is also possible to identify the soft skills needed to be successful in that job. If those soft skills duties and tasks can be identified then they are based upon knowledge that can be taught.
Hard skills can be objectively assessed and soft skills cannot.
This false assumption does not hold water either for if the soft skills of a successful customer service representative can be identified then they can be assessed. Criterion referenced assessments are based upon knowledge and therefore soft skills assessments can be developed to assess the critical soft skills knowledge of an expert customer service representative.
Soft skills are like IQ, a person is just born with it.
Soft skills are born from emotional intelligence skills. For over two decades, expert researchers in the field of emotional intelligence (EQ), such as Dr. Daniel Goleman, have proven that EQ can not only be assessed, but can also be improved upon throughout one’s lifetime.
When soft skills are taught, they may or may not be used in real life.
What guarantee is there that the hard skills taught will be used in real life? The argument goes both ways. The best way to teach hard or soft skills is to teach the knowledge, then use those skills in real applications on the job, and then assess for results in real life applications.
Soft skills are touchy-feely and of no use in the real world.
This one argument cuts to the core of the resistance to teaching soft skills. For some reason, soft skills training has been labeled as a touchy-feely thing that is not worth the time to teach in a training program. The real fact is that a lack of soft skills in our current workforce results in a loss of many billions of dollars each year in lost revenue. This loss of revenue is impacting every business in one way or another.
Touchy-feely = loss of revenue. Perhaps it is time to re-think that strategy!!!