Page 32

PE_Nov_2014

Lead Your Boss with Soft Skills Manage your boss with hard skills By Prof. M.S. Rao “The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world.” - Lao Tzu Soft skills are different from hard skills. It is a new discipline catching up globally as companies realized its importance to improve interpersonal relations to enhance bottom lines. The term, soft skills were referred with different names in the past, and are often mistaken for emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills, communication skills and behavioral skills. In fact, soft skills are all about your personality, attitude and behavior. Soft skills are the way you put across the things in a positive, polite, pleasing and polished manner. They are different from hard skills which are nothing but technical skills and your domain competence. Hard skills are mostly tangible and can be seen while soft skills are largely intangible and can be felt. Hard skills are technical skills and are mostly phrased using nouns while soft skills are people skills and are mostly phrased using verbs. A judicious blend of both soft and hard skills is essential to fast-track your career. Here are some differences between soft and hard skills. Soft versus Hard Skills – Examples If you call someone physically handicapped, it is known as hard skill. Instead, if you call them physically challenged, it is known as soft skill. If you instruct a smoker, ‘don’t smoke’, it is known as hard skill. Instead if you communicate ‘thanks for not smoking’, it is known as soft skill. If you tell ‘generation gap’, it is known as hard skill. In contrast, if you tell as ‘generational differences’, it is known as soft skill. If you call ‘slow learners’, it is known as hard skill. In contrast, if you call it ‘differently-abled learners’, it is known as soft skill. If you say ‘problems’, it is known as hard skill, whereas if you call it ‘challenges’, it is known as soft skill. If you say ‘weaknesses’ it is known as hard skill, if you call it ‘concerns’, it is known as soft skill. Precisely, soft skills emphasize on how you communicate while hard skills emphasize on what you communicate. According to Anthony Robbins, there is a famous story told about Tom Watson, the founder of IBM. One of his subordinates made a terrible mistake that had cost the company ten million dollars. He was called into Watson’s office and he said, “I suppose you want my resignation.” Watson looked at him and said, “Are you kidding? We just spent ten million dollars educating you.” It is obvious that Tom Watson emphasized the importance of costly corporate education with his soft skills. Similarly, one of the technicians in Indian Air Force made a blunder resulting in the crash of a military aircraft that had cost hugely with pilot ejecting out safely with his parachute. The technician was called into commander’s office and the commander looked at the technician and said, “Indian Air Force invested huge money to train you in aircrafts. Remember, military education is very costly.” Hence, you can understand the significance of soft skills in expressing hard skills in a positive, polite, pleasing and polished manner. It is easy to measure hard skills while it is hard to measure soft skills. It is easy to teach hard skills while it is hard to teach soft skills. Usually, teachers teach hard skills while trainers train soft skills. Since soft skills are behavioral skills, it requires extra efforts on the part of trainers to use various tools and techniques including interaction, role-plays, active participation and experiential learning to bring out the desired behavioral changes in the participants. Significance of Soft Skills Remember, words are magical. If you know how to articulate them Interactive Youtube: Prof. M.S. Rao Books by M. S. Rao Book effectively, politely and pleasingly, you can get your tasks executed effectively. You can come out with flying colors irrespective of the industry and sector you are into. You can avoid ill-will among the people. With soft skills, you can easily manage organizational politics and present things in a positive perspective by changing your behavior as per the situation. You can develop emotional intelligence quotient and assertiveness which is an ingredient of soft skills. You can gel well effectively with your superiors, peers and subordinates in the workplace. You can get along with various personalities at the workplace. You can manage conflicts effectively. You can be in the good books of others with your corporate etiquette and with your pleasing, polite and polished communication. You not only ensure corporate survival but also fast-track your career. Finally, you can achieve your productivity and performance to achieve organizational excellence and effectiveness. With hard skills, you can manage your boss; and with soft skills, you can lead your boss. Succinctly, you can survive in your personal, professional and social life with the support of soft skills. Integrate Hard and Soft Skills You can present your hard skills in your resume while you can demonstrate your soft skills during your employment interview. Employees need three skills - job related skills, transferable skills and self-management skills to grow in their career. Hard skills can be compared with job related skills while soft skills with transferable skills. These soft skills are transferable skills that are useful irrespective of the industry and sector you are into. You may not need your hard skills over a period of time but you certainly need soft skills throughout your career. In fact, you need them more once you reach senior positions. Hence, both your soft and hard skills play a crucial role to grab your employment offer and fast-track your career success. If you are an actor, your acting comes under your hard skills and how to meet and interact with others in the film industry falls in the category of soft skills. If they don’t demonstrate soft skills, they fail miserably in the film industry. Similarly, if actors are good at interacting and associating with others but lack acting skills, then also, they fail miserably. Hence, there is need for judicious and proportional mix of hard and soft skills to achieve your professional success. To conclude, your hard skills get you employment while your soft skills get you employability. Your hard skills help you acquire employment while your soft skills help you retain your employment. Hence, understand the subtle difference between them, and integrate and apply them proportionately and effectively to excel as a successful professional and leader. “In today’s competitive environment, it is not enough to be the best in your field, intellectually. Competency is only half of what you need to climb the ladder of success. The other half is the softer side of you – it’s that part of you that will be liked, admired, trusted and remembered.” – Carole Nicola Ides PE Professor M.S.Rao is the Father of ‘Soft Leadership’. He is an International Leadership Guru and the author of 30 books including the award-winning ‘21 Success Sutras for Leaders’ which has been ranked as one of the Top 10 Leadership Books of the Year – 2013 by San Diego University, USA. His book Success Tools for CEO Coaches: Be a Learner, Leader, and Ladder is the Community Award Winner for 2014 by Small Business Trends, USA. His vision is to build one million students as global leaders by 2030. Connect Professor M.S. Rao Email msrlctrg@gmail.com Twitter @professormsrao 32 Submit your Articles Personal Excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 11.2014


PE_Nov_2014
To see the actual publication please follow the link above