Educational system in India is so skewed these days that the primary and in fact the sole aim of this enterprise is to equip students with hard skills. True that Indians excel so well in hard skills that they prove to be one among the topmost ethnic groups of scholars globally. There's no question that the quality of education with respect to the volume and depth of knowledge imparted is truly world class in India right from primary education to that of graduation. And Indians do consistently prove that their intelligence and knowledge are par excellence in any field undertaken.
But, it's quite a shame that Indians find themselves lacking core soft skills when out of school and in the practical world of career seeking and building. While hard skills are totally dependent on the technical and academic training of the person, soft skills develop out of one's personality. Skills that would enable you to be competent contender in practice. Though the basic flair is usually inherent, there are a lot of improvisations and additions that can be done to augment one's soft skills. As these basically determine anyone's personal and interpersonal skills, employers are increasingly seeking them in potential employees. Though these skills are not quantifiable or measurable in the standard sense, the persona of a person is easily scalable for trained eyes aka the interview boards, selection committees or even Professors themselves.
Just imagine a situation where you are the ace scholar in a particular subject and you know how to tackle any challenge in your field with your academic merit but unfortunately, lack communication skills, work strategies or practical confidence. That’s the beginning of the decline in your career graph. In short, it’s not just academic knowledge and intelligence that matter. The basic skills to nurture healthy interpersonal interactions are essential in any profession. Soft skills, as the term suggests, are a set of qualities desirable in a formal work environment for a person to rise above routine challenges in any profession. In sooth, as these skills simply draw the boundary line between success and failure today, it may not be wrong to call them life skills. RGCB Blog will run a series called “Soft Skills Drill” in the coming posts where each of the following skills will be discussed in detail. Stay tuned.
· Effective communication
· Problem solving and decision making
· Learning and information handling
· Leadership and management
· Ethics, etiquette and professionalism
· Team cohesion and team management
· Creative writing
· Presentation and public speaking
· Self confidence, self esteem, self motivation, self awareness
· Trust building, healthy competition and conflict management
· Cultural fit and personal boundaries
Here’s a quick quiz for a self-evaluation of where we stand in our soft skill development and utilization. There’s no fixed right or wrong answer to any of the questions. These are situations in daily life to which each person responds in his own ways. Try it.