Paper XVIII: Soft Skills Development
B.Ed.: Sem. IV Sub. Code: BCSD
Unit I: Introduction Soft Skills
Soft skills: Meaning, definition – hard skills vs soft skills – components – importance & need – identifying soft skills- soft skills training- practising soft skill- soft skills: social, thinking, coping – improving soft skills.
Objectives: The prospective teacherat the end of the unit, understands the meaning of soft skills and hard skills, identifies the differences between them, recognizes the importance and need, and types of soft skills and lists out techniques of improving soft skills.
Soft skills has become the buzz word of all walks of life, starting from industry to institution, business centres, travel and public gatherings up to parks and residential places. It is basically the skill of a person to smoothly conduct himself or herself with another so that the ultimate objective of transaction, whether it is academic or business is achieved. Linking with behavioural competencies, the soft skills is very much associated with personality traits, graces, communication skills, language, personal habits, friendliness, and the attitude that characterize relationships with others.
Meaning and Definition
Soft skills in fact complement the hard skills; while the former is connected with emotions, feelings and personal inner dispositions, the latter is very much related to efficiency of the person for any occupational requirements such as set of skills and abilities. Soft skills enhance the personality of a person; the proficiencies such as communication skills, problem solving, strategic thinking, teambuilding and being at ease with the group with smooth relationships form the better part of the soft skills of the person. That is how, the soft skills are also called as interpersonal skill, people skill, social skill, communication skill and human skill.
- “Soft skills refers to the cluster of personality traits, social graces and facility with language, personal habits, friendliness and optimism that mark people to varying degrees”. – Anonymous
- “Soft skills are defined as skills, abilities and traits that pertain to personality, attitude and behaviour rather than to formal or technical knowledge”. – Moss & Tilly, 2001.
Importance and need of Soft skills
Human beings are social animals and hence we cannot be alone but only in communion with others. Humans are also psychological beings, expecting to be recognized emotionally and socially. SS are important to handle interpersonal relations, to take appropriate decisions, to communicate effectively and to have good impression and impact to gain professional development.
Difference between Hard skills and Soft skills
|Hard skills||Soft skills|
|Hard skills depend on one’s IQ HS are the skills where the rules remain the same regardless of the circumstances. HS are taught HS are tangible skills that are easy to teach, identify and measure.||Soft skills depend on one’s EQ SS are self-management skills and people skills where the rules change depending on the circumstances. SS skills are caught SS are intangible interpersonal skills; not easy to be measured but can be observed.|
Components of Soft skills
Social: The social component of soft skills includes the knowledge and understanding of the group dynamics, culture and life style, the ability to resolve the group conflict, being sensitive to the needs of the others, establishing group relations, being accommodative, tolerance and openness, developing the right ethics etc.
Psychological: This component combines the skill necessary in relating to the participants along with presence of mind and behaviour. It includes a climate of trust within a group, understanding what the aim of the group, empathy, understanding and creating the right attitude, and responding to each other in a trustworthy manner.
Communication: The important component will be communication including oral, written and non-verbal. Need to express our thoughts adequately at the appropriate time with sufficient emphasis on the matter to be passed on.
Identifying Soft skills
- List out your soft skills which you are aware of.
- Ask your good friends, well-wishers, parents, peers, family members to write down the good and bad traits.
- Meet some experts and go for consultations which will give some insight about your SS.
- Always spend some time at the end of the day; reflect on your whole day experiences and identify some special characteristics of yourself.
- Try get more feedback from all the persons possible.
How to improve your SS?
- Be a part of team activities
- Look at your time management skill and improve it.
- Make it regular the habit of getting feedback.
- Be practical and live here and now.
- Practice the communication skill along with outdoor activities.
- Try to be extrovert and gain more social experiences.
Practicing Soft skills
- Have a positive attitude: Positive attitude refers to status of your mind to face all your experiences alike with some space for learning and moving forward and not being discouraged. Constant motivation in facing the challenges and solving the problems without any backtracking will add a flavour for your life that is positive attitude.
- Cultivate a desire to be a team member: A team basically functions on the base of element of cooperation among members; cooperation does not mean extending your hands in support of your team’s success but also specifically playing a role in the completion of the task. It may be a simple role like being an assistant or even the leader. It will certainly offer you a chance of exercising your potentials and enhance your soft skills. More human relationships will be established and new culture of relating and living will emerge from out of those interactions.
- Aim at clear communication: Professional conduct of a group requires a clear-cut communication of expectations and ideas; the ‘to and from’ channels are to be kept open with all your peers, coworkers, well-wishers and all with whom we come into contact so that exchange of ideas and space for individual understanding are maintained.
- Display self-confidence: Exhibit self-confidence in all your expressions and actions which must be rightly assisted with updated information, knowledge and skills. Don’t shirk your responsibilities rather avail yourself for any new venture of social responsibility that will create a space for manifestation of a super blend of skills, knowledge, attitudes and confidence.
- Be a unique person: When you are entrusted with a job, approach it with new perspective and complete the samein your own way; let it have your personal touch and allow the job to be polished with your special element of personality.
- Await criticism: Nothing more a leader will expect than an objective feedback and criticism, for it possesses the nucleus for the next creative activity. Criticism will always have the seed of strength provided the receiver is open and alert. It is a process of learning, unlearning and relearning.
- Constantly motivate yourself: As the silent movement of the clock leads the human community to be on its wheel, so as the constant inner orientation and motivation should trigger your thinking, planning and actions, ultimately the personality.
- Read, reflect and respond: Soft skills are the social skills and hence they need to be grown in the context of the society; my street, community, or the society to which I belong must be inspected on, reflected on its reality and in the end, responses have to be designed by its members. The creation of attitudes and behaviours arise out of these reading and reflections.
- Aim high: Whatever we think must be new and higher goals which would extract our energy; the imagination of a new and larger vision, followed by a mission and strategies will keep you on your toes and thus dynamism and vibration will uplift your personhood.
- Surround yourself with people: Henry Ford says, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success”. Staying alone will bring little success but being together will much more. Physical proximity unveils the freedom to interact, untie the tongue to speak and prepares the mind to act, eventually to attain peace and happiness.