Skip to content

Soft Skills Are Far from Easy

Once upon a time I worked with a training council inside a Fortune 500 company to assess training and development needs for the Finance organization.

When the assessment results came back, nearly every topic on the list was related to management and interpersonal skills.

02-03 Mandarin Pair
Be Clear | Have Compassion

The CFO said in response, “You know, that makes sense. We hire people with the right skills and aptitude for finance, but what holds people back is their lack of people skills.”

In my experience, this is often the case, no matter the discipline: finance, operations, engineering, marketing, sales, human resources….

What’s involved? I used to say that what we were really doing, in management and executive training, was to teach people to “Play nice and share.” Mostly true, but it’s not so easy.

Soft skills: personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.
~Google: Define “soft skills”

Examples include both self-management and people skills, for example:

  • Communication: listening, speaking, presenting
  • How to disagree (one of the most difficult)
  • Persuasive speaking and writing
  • Encouraging others
  • Empathy
  • Regulating one’s emotions
  • Motivating oneself and others
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Courtesy
  • Networking

This is not an exhaustive list.

These are not skills that we learn once, in a short seminar, and then “have” for the rest of our lives. Just as for technical expertise, it makes sense to continuously work to improve our “soft skills.”


Post | Soft Skills List—28 Skills to Working Smart

Podcast | Just a Little Nicer

Photo | Mandarin Pair © Francis C. Franklin/CC-BY-SA-3.0

Disclosure: Some links on this site are “affiliate links,” which means that I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase something.