Soft skills: expertise worth developing today to prepare for tomorrow
Soft Skills: definition
For Julhiet Sterwen, soft skills generally mean all the social, cognitive and emotional skills that are useful for influencing people, adapting to change, taking decisions, working with others and being creative. We distinguish them from technical expertise and knowledge, which we call hard skills.
Soft skills are based on a subtle mix of aptitudes based on our personality traits, reasoning, motivations and mindsets. For Julhiet Sterwen and particularly our subsidiary PerformanSe, soft skills are not fixed but dynamic, and they can be developed and cultivated.
Preparing for the future
Some 85% of today’s jobs will disappear by 2030 (Source: “The next era of human/machine partnerships” report by the Institute for the Future and Dell Technologies, 2017).
We need to stop thinking exclusively in terms of jobs and instead focus on soft skills to face up to the complexity and changes to come. Let’s think adaptability, creativity, critical reasoning, multitasking, learning to learn… and sharing accountability.
Soft skills and management
Managers must channel their energies into developing useful skills for future performance. Just as they need to demonstrate technical or specialist skills to be credible, they also need to acquire new skills: creativity, complex problem solving, critical reasoning, flexibility and emotional intelligence. They must no longer position themselves as sages or decision-makers, but as team coaches who can stimulate team intelligence and empower people. But how can they support others without having a clear, critical view of their own strengths, resources, motivations and beliefs? How can they inspire vital confidence in others without having confidence in their own skills and credibility? Sound self-awareness and soft skills play a key role in the future performance of managers.
Self-awareness, agility and culture
What is true for managers is true for all employees, who need to be supported as they find their place in a company. Knowing themselves and their soft skills helps build self-confidence. This helps them to break the boundaries, take initiatives, adapt to events, develop agility and be more effective in a context of transformation. It also helps them to take perspective and sharpen their judgment to make the right decisions. Employees can imagine their future at the company positively by shaping their work, making their own contribution and increasing their job satisfaction.