Almost everyone has encountered employees in their workplaces who just stopped by to gossip in their colleagues’ room or who were officially pessimistic on different occasions. Or it has been exposed to people who always communicate aggressively with their peers and others, verbally or non-verbally, or who continue to wait for their deadline to approach and then start their assigned work. In addition, the number of people who use unethical methods to achieve success faster is not few.
These are just examples of some of the weak soft skills that are basically witnessed in workplaces. Therefore, considering the opposite of these examples, we are talking about skills and abilities which are actually called soft skills. These skills are essential to focus for both individual and career advancement. The literature does not provide a concrete definition of social skills; rather, it provides a list of examples of social skills so that readers can frame their interpretation.
To form an understanding of soft skills, it must first be recognized that soft skills are widely used interchangeably with life skills, human skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, workplace skills, cultural skills, management skills and employability skills. Regardless of the name, it is very important to communicate or interact in the community at some point. For example, when presenting project work, interacting with bosses, clients or teachers, participating in group discussions or job interviews, or excelling in the real world, people from all streams need all important social skills.
Rather, it provides a list of examples of social skills so that readers can frame their interpretation. Therefore, soft skills can be very much related to personality traits, including social and emotional intelligence, which directly or indirectly affect our behavior when developing or disrupting relationships. Recent research claims that social skills are considered one of the most emerging studies in recent years and are an exceptional prerequisite, especially in the workplace area.
The concept of soft skills emerged in 1918 when Charles Riborg Mann mentioned the first meeting of the Joint Committee on National Engineering Studies in the Journal of Engineering Education Research published with other representatives of the Carnegie Teaching Development Foundation. At the meeting, many engineers were questioned about their skills and abilities, which are thought to have the potential to determine success in the structural engineering profession. Further analysis indicated that personal qualities such as common sense, ethics, self-efficacy, and emotional intelligence are universally recognized as equally important to a professional engineer as technical knowledge and skill.
Later, it was seen that soft skill as a study was not limited to the field of engineering only. Emerging research has found that the relevance of social skills arises in various fields such as management, IT, education, administration, hospitality, medicine, and pharmacy. The trade in the application of social skills in the workplace has attracted enough attention, and the need to instill these skills into one’s personality has become a necessity. “Whether you work in a family business or a multinational corporation, in the IT industry or in the manufacturing industry, social skills are absolutely essential skills for success.”
Moreover, the importance of social skills in various fields has also emphasized that there are various social skills that are vital and valuable in the workplace. Every day, countless meetings, training and business deals are made with the best application of ideas and information in workplaces where people from different backgrounds work together for a common purpose. The role of soft skills in this descriptive situation is of immense value.
Many authors working on social skills report that these are “essentially human skills – non-technical, abstract, personality-specific skills that determine one’s strengths as a leader, listener, negotiator, and tool of conflict.” He explains that these are very different from soft skills. He makes it clear that difficult skills are “more than what may appear in a person’s background, education, experimentation, and level of expertise”.
In other words, hard skills are technical abilities acquired through education, training, and practice on behalf of a degree. However, one degree is not enough to ensure a successful career today. Recruiters today are looking for ready-to-work candidates with a range of skills specifically required for specific job roles. Therefore, as the growing importance of soft skills is widely recognized, “hard skills alone may not be enough to survive successfully” The fact that both hard skills and soft skills complement each other is not wrong either.
Soft skills are actually healthy promoters of communication and performance. They are regarded as connectors that create gaps and bridging relationships between people in the workplace, providing better productivity and performance. Social skills reduce the gaps between various departments in an organization, thus promoting effective communication and performance. Globalization has increased the changing environment in workplaces that significantly require social skills; otherwise, survival and maintenance will remain an unrealistic dream.
Although there are many job guides, the development of leadership, communication, personal skills, interpersonal skills, and many more selected soft critical skills is important for a career. And the development of soft skills differentiates and develops under various other sub-skills. Career development starts with good communication skills. The ability to communicate is one of the many steps to be successful in a career. Without adequate communication skills, it becomes difficult to gain, maintain or expand interpersonal relationships, especially in workplaces.
Communication is the lifeline for workplaces involving a large number of people both internally and externally associated with an organization. Communication connects them all. Research is believed to have “substantial evidence that those without a set of well-developed communication skills have difficulty advancing their careers”. Good communication delivers the messages clearly and responsibly to the recipient without any distortion or confusion. Therefore, it is extremely important that the transmitted message is spoken efficiently and that it is properly listened to and understood. Besides speaking and listening, reading and writing are also essential components of communication skills.
Author: Ozlem Guvenc Aðaoðlu