The use of the terms “hard” and “soft” skills are totally backwards. “Hard” skills are usually referred to as the technical skills of the business and “soft” skills are the people side of the business. I consider what I do to fall under the term we now call “soft” skills.
I believe a lot of things have led to the overemphasis on and the overvaluing of “hard” skills. Some of those “things” I am referring to are all the HR nightmares that companies have gone through starting way back with feminism, sensitivity to sexual harassment in the workplace, and diversity. And, there is a whole group of people out there that are naturally not comfortable with the people side of things. I don’t have to point fingers. You know who you are!
Those are some treacherous roads to tread. And I believe that our answer has been it’s easier not to tread them. Stay in the science of things. It’s easier.
Even before those days, when the belt needed to be tightened, it’s the “soft” skill training that goes away; if there was any to begin with.
Now, before you get on your high horse, which is probably higher than my soap box, I am not saying that technical skills are not to be valued. I am suggesting that more balance be brought into the equation. I am suggesting that both sets of skills be given equal measure
BEE-CUZZZZZZZSE, one may have all the technical expertise one can gather smashed into that wonderful organ we call a brain and it is still going to require relationships and dealings with other people to get the technology out there.
There is a system in the soft skills I train. Frequently when I am in a teambuilding with the highly technical mind, they challenge the heck out of me. Then, when it has time to sink in, and they see the system side of what I am talking about, the left side of their brains are satisfied and then they can let their right brains have fun and relax.
So, starting right here, right now, I am officially on a campaign to change the conceptual meaning of “hard” and “soft” skills in business and attain equanimity for both. Although I have a bias.
In reality, we run away from the people side of things because why? They are HARDER! So, why are they called “soft” skills?
People Skills = Hard Skills
Technical Skills = Soft Skills
Technical skills are the ones you need to do half of your job. They are definable. You either have them or you don’t. That’s pretty easy or soft. People skills are the skills you need to do the other half of your job. And they are harder to do for most people than technical skills. Let’s just start calling them People Skills and Technical Skills! Whew! Sure am glad that problem is solved.
Now, let’s allocate equal sums of money to the training of these skills in the budgets, please.