Tamil-English bilingual webmagazine dedicated to education of the masses through E-books, articles, worldwide informations, Slideshows, Presentations on various subjects, photographs and images, moral and objective oriented stories and Lectures including audio and video

The top 60 soft skills at work
Challa S S J Ram Phani


Soft Skills - Part I

Amit Kumar did his M Tech from IIT, New Delhi. He has an MBA from IIM, Ahmedabad. But he still could not get the job of his choice during campus recruitment.

Reason: Blame it on his soft skills Or rather the lack of them. These include communication, listening, negotiation, etiquette, language skills etc. Hence, he could not compete with his fellow students.

Soft Skills Part II:

How to improve your soft skills

Soft skills play a vital role for professional success; they help one to excel in the workplace and their importance cannot be denied in this age of information and knowledge. Good soft skills - which are in fact scarce - in the highly competitive corporate world will help you stand out in a milieu of routine job seekers with mediocre skills and talent.

The Smyth County Industry Council, a governing body based in the US, conducted a survey recently. The results of the survey was called the Workforce Profile which found "an across-the-board unanimous profile of skills and characte needed to make a good employee." The people most likely to be hired for available jobs have what employers call "soft skills".

Here were some of the findings according to the workforce study:

The most common traits, mentioned by virtually every employer, were:

~ Positive work ethic.
~ Good attitude.
~ Desire to learn and be trained.

Mohan Rao, a technical director with Emmellen Biotech Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Mumbai defines a 'good attitude: "It is a behavioural skill, which cannot be taught. How through continuous training. It represents the reactive nature of the individual and is about looking at things with the right perspective. You must be ready to solve problems proactively and create win-win situations. And you must be able to take ownership ie responsibility for your actions and lead from the front without calling it quits at the most critical moment."

Most of the business leaders observed that they could find workers who have "hard skills" ie the capability to operate machinery or fulfill other tasks, but many potential hires lack the "soft skills" that a company needs.

CEOs and human resource managers said they are ready to hire workers who demonstrate a high level of "soft skills" and then train them for the specific jobs available. The ever-changing impact of technology has given hard-skills-only workers a short shelf life.

According to results of the Workforce Profile, (source: workforce.com) the more valuable employee is one who can grow and learn as the business changes.

Soft skills "are as important, if not more important, than traditional hard skills to an employer looking to hire - regardless of industry or job type. This could offer a major breakthrough as educators and training providers seek to develop and cluster training courses to fit business and industry needs."

Top 60 soft skills

The Workforce Profile defined about 60 "soft skills", which employers seek. They are applicable to any field of work and are the "personal traits and skills that employers state are the most important when selecting employees for jobs of any type".

1. Math.
2. Safety.
3. Courtesy.
4. Honesty.
5. Grammar.
6. Reliability.
7. Flexibility.
8. Team skills.
9. Eye contact.
10. Cooperation.
11. Adaptability.
12. Follow rules.
13. Self-directed.
14 Good attitude.
15. Writing skills.
16. Driver's license.
17. Dependability.
18. Advanced math.
19. Self-supervising.
20. Good references.
21. Being drug free.?
22. Good attendance.
23. Personal energy.
24. Work experience.
25. Ability to measure.
26. Personal integrity.
27. Good work history.
28. Positive work ethic.
29. Interpersonal skills.
30. Motivational skills.
31. Valuing education.?
32. Personal chemistry.
33. Willingness to learn.
34.?Common sense.?
35. Critical thinking skills.
36. Knowledge of fractions.
37. Reporting to?work on time.
38. Use of rulers and calculators.
39. Good personal appearance.
40. Wanting to do a good job.
41. Basic spelling and grammar.
42. Reading and comprehension.
43. Ability to follow regulations.
44. Willingness to be accountable.
45. Ability to fill out a job application.
46. Ability to make production quotas.
47. Basic manufacturing skills training.
48. Awareness of how business works.
49. Staying on the job until it is finished.
50. Ability to read and follow instructions.
51. Willingness to work second and third shifts.
52. Caring about seeing the company succeed.
53. Understanding what the world is all about.
54. Ability to listen and document what you have heard.
55. Commitment to continued training and learning.
56. Willingness to take instruction and responsibility.
57. Ability to relate to coworkers in a close environment.
58. Not expecting to become a supervisor in the first six months.
59. Willingness to be a good worker and go beyond the traditional eight-hour day.
60. Communication skills with public, fellow employees, supervisors, and customers.

How many soft skills do you possess?

The author is a career management consultant and corporate trainer, and is currently associated with aimkom consultrainers. You may reach him at , which if practised at the workplace, could boost?your professional life.

Subjects like financial management, marketing management, HR management can be taught in the classroom and can be studied at home. But not soft skills. Soft skills are acquired and experienced on the spot and cannot be developed by merely reading textbooks.

The soft skills you gain will equip you to excel in your professional life and in your personal life. It is a continuous learning process.

The 60 soft skills mentioned can be classified into corporate skills, employability skills and life s parts of the world like in USA and Australia, soft skills are also known as world skills.

Corporate skills

These are generally CEO level skills, but if you are familiar with them you will be in a position to guide your boss towards success ie working together for a common goal as a team. You can become a courageous follower as mentioned by Ira Chaleff in his award-winning book Courageous Follower: Standing Up To and For Our Leaders.

These skills include:

~ Political sensitivity.
~ Business and commercial awareness.
~ Strategic awareness.
~ Understanding funding streams and mechanisms.
~ Information management.
~ Organisation and control.
~ Team building.
~ Communication and persuasion.
~?Networking and public relations.
~ Leading change.
• Must-read: Annoying your colleagues at work

Employability skills

These have to be mastered by employable graduates and freshers include communication, team working, leadership, initiative, problem solving, flexibility and enthusiasm.

Every skill helps us to learn one more as they overlap each other.

To quote an example, leadership encompasses a number of other skills including cooperating with others, planning and organising, making decisions communication. Verbal communication itself involves various means of communication, some of which you may find easier than others - talking over the phone, making a presentation to a group, explaining something to a person with a more limited understanding of the topic for example.

By improving one skill, you may also improve a number of others. In the context of your career planning and development, they are called career management skills.

Life skills

These skills are related to the head, heart, hands and health ie highly personal and behavioural skills which reflects our personality and naturally helps in personality development.

Through our marketable skills, teamwork and self-motivation to get the things done.

Living and being comes under the functions of health. Healthy lifestyle choices, stress management, disease prevention and personal safety are our prime concerns for better living. Self-esteem, self-responsibility, character, managing feelings and self-discipline must be practiced without fail for our well-being. In a nutshell, the essence of life skills is share well, care well and fare well.

Things to do everyday

Follow these ten golden rules and enjoy every moment of living.

~ Greet your?family members first thing in the morning. If you are not used to this, they will be surprised with your su gesture.

~ Greet your peers, subordinates and boss once you enter the office. Smile at even the 'security' personnel standing at the gate, who takes care of your safety.

~ Greet your friends along the way and do not ignore them.

~ Continously reciprocate to breed communication. If you do not reciprocate at least with a 'thanks' when you get information or a source on your online network or your offline network, you will not be remembered for a long time. If you are not remembered, you are out of your network.

~ Be a proactive listener and empathise with others to command respect.

~ While talking to others, your voice, tone and tenor must be audible and soothing. It should not be aggressive or in a shouting mode.

~ Dress well to suit your profession and to create positive vibes in your workplace. If you are a sales representative, do not go out with printed shirts and jeans, which may turn down your customer.

~ Political and religious comments must be avoided at all costs in the workplace, when you are in a group.

~ Your communication should not provoke others.

~ Do not speak ill of others if you can help it.


Designed and maintained by AKR Consultants