In the simple model of professional competencies, professional skills are divided into soft (flexible) skills and hard skills.
Hard skills are the narrow professional skills that are needed to solve particular problems in their daily business activity. For a translator, an example of a hard skill is the ability to work with CAT tools, and for a mechanical engineer, it could be the talent to handle a sander. Hard skills can be studied in a few weeks and their effectiveness is measured. Hard skills are required for specific professional tasks and are based on technical knowledge.
Soft skills are additional professional talents that help solve life problems and communicate with other people. Regardless of your specialty, you will need at least a few “flexible skills”. To succeed at work, you need to be able to get along well with your colleagues, clients, managers, and boss. Soft skills cannot be achieved by learning from a workshop or at school, they are introduced in childhood and are improved throughout life. That’s why many companies value employees with a high level of communication and self-discipline skills. Soft skills are useful in all areas and are associated with emotional intelligence.
Scientists from Harvard, Stanford, and the Carnegie Endowment have found that “flexible skills” represent 85% of a person’s professional success, while hard skills make up only 15%. Soft and hard skills should complement each other to solve tasks of differing complexity. For example, it will be useful for a translator to master such soft skills as communication, creative thinking, empathy, and such hard skills as mastery of SDL Trados, website localisation, Office apps, and so on.
We prepared a list of some of the important “flexible skills” that can boost your growth personally and professionally:
- Nonviolent Communication with Different People
- Critical Thinking
- Active Customer Orientation
- Creative and Non-standard Approach to Problem Solving
- Powerful Self-Management
- Ability to Mentoring Newbies
- Understanding How to Cope With Fear and Uncertainty
- Powerful Decision Making
- Emotional Intelligence
- Environmental Thinking
- Introspection and Self-Reflection
- Goodwill and the Ability to Compromise in Conflict Situations
Soft skills help to establish relations, to fulfill personal and professional tasks. A peaceful, friendly, and respectful spirit at work will make the time you spend in the office not only enjoyable but also more productive. Even if you work remotely, you still need to communicate online and present your best soft skills so your clients and partners would want to cooperate with you. At this time when there are so many awful events going on, we should be kinder, and this will not only save our businesses but also allow us to make new friends.