It’s common knowledge that soft skills are important for business leaders and managers, but do they really create results? Like better decision-making and improved business outcomes? A BBC article reports that soft skills were the most valued qualiﬁcations for 91% of management job listings, 86% of business-operations jobs, and 81% of engineering jobs. That’s a lot of jobs – and those skills are in addition to the technical knowledge you already need just to get your foot in the door.
Surprisingly, the intangible soft skills that companies prize are not just about communication and teamwork but also about resiliency, time-management, and adaptability. And yes, they also include the classic tenets of emotional intelligence (EQ): self-awareness, self-management, and social/relationship awareness and management. With technical work becoming more and more automated and remote work now common, even highly technical fields such as engineering increasingly depend on leaders and managers who are highly fluent in soft skills and EQ.
But what about someone who doesn’t “feel” comfortable with soft skills? There’s good news, according to the article, because everyone can develop and hone these competencies. Tools such as TalentSmart’s EQ assessment and Korn Ferry’s ESCI training can help assess and build social awareness, interpersonal relationships, and other intangible leadership skills.
And soft skills can even help create results when working with non-human animals – try naming your cows if you’re in the dairy business…