TRAINING: Elevating Soft Skills To Critical Status
Recent Western Cape Business News
More attention needs to be given to soft skills across all sectors if organisations are to leverage the full potential of their human resources – this according to Brian Kleinsmith, Programme Director of a new UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) short course called Critical Skills.
These skills – once regarded as secondary to hard skills or technical knowledge – are increasingly being acknowledged as key factors in determining organisational success or failure, says Kleinsmith, who argues they should be elevated from ‘soft’ to ‘critical’ status.
“Acclaimed American psychologist Daniel Goleman has suggested that soft skills – or the combination of competencies that determine an employee’s ability to manage his or herself and work successfully with others – are far more important than IQ or technical (hard) skills in determining career success in similarly qualified individuals,” said Kleinsmith.
“Less attention is traditionally paid to these skills but in truth they are crucial in determining the productivity and value of employees, and hence the productivity and success of organisations as a whole,” he added.
Kleinsmith defines soft or critical skills as those such as self-awareness; communication and good listening; problem-solving and decision-making; planning and time management; conflict management; and leadership ability.
“It is these skills that elevate a technically qualified individual from competent to truly indispensable,” he said.
Currently, other emergent countries like India and Brazil are grappling with the issue of soft skills development. Like in South Africa, many companies there are worried that graduates are not work-ready – they feel they are lacking the soft skills and business proficiencies needed to complement their technical knowledge.
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