by Rita Oziegbe
A tree cannot make a forest they say because the beauty of the forest lies in the varieties of the plants and how they co-exist. In the same vein, an individual cannot make a family, an organization or a society. The ability to work together towards the achievement of a common goal as a people can never be ruled out in human existence neither can its effect be ignored in our daily lives. This could be attributed to the possession of certain skills by humans and one of such is the SOFT SKILLS. One would begin to wonder, “What are soft skills?”…….. Don’t get so curious, I’ll tell you.
Soft skills are characters, traits, and interpersonal skills that characterize a person’s relationship with others. They are the abilities to recognize and manage our own and other’s emotions. It also includes how we organize and how we approach life. Did I hear you say “What has it got to do with family, organization and the society?”…………… Of course it does have a lot to do with these units, every family unit has a common interest and goal/s and so does every organizational workplace, groups and society. Each unit is made up of more than one individual and each individual have their own emotions. The ability to manage your own emotion as a part of the unit and that of the other members will go a long way to determine the success of one’s family, the organization in which you work and the society you belong.
Now what are some of these soft skills? They include; communication skills, teamwork and collaboration, adaptability/flexibility, problem solving, critical observation, conflict resolution, dependability, personal habits, leadership traits, conscientiousness, creativity, self motivation, accepting responsibility, optimism, commitment, coaching and mentoring, sense of humour, good decision making, empathy, diplomacy and respectfulness, common sense, good manners, time management and ability to work under pressure, when to speak, listen and suggest a compromise and many more.
They are important because they are one’s unique selling point and give you a competitive edge in the workplace, in the family and perhaps in life. They are considered a complement to hard skills, which refer to a person’s occupational skills and knowledge. You can simply put, they make your hard skills glow. Although most of these skills are innate, some can be learnt and boosted over time to give you an upper hand on a job/ promotion, other areas of your life and in the society at large.