MBA I ECLS_U-1_introduction and basics of soft skills
UNIT – 1 – Introduction and Basics of Soft Skills
Course – MBA
Subject – English Communications and Life Skills
Unit - 1
Meaning – Soft Skills
Soft skills is an essential dimension
and a corner stone of an ideal
person. It can be explained as a
personality trait which is extremely
crucial for succeeding in our career
and to live a better life. Soft skills
usually include communication skills,
communication language, ability to
express our ideas and related areas.
These aspects are very important if
one wants to succeed in life and live
a proper life. Soft skills usually are
dependent on the inner self of the
person and not the physical body of a
person. They usually test the
endurance and mental strength more
than the physical strength.
Hence, the soft skills like
communication skills need to
be improved by every person
in order to excel in social life
as Soft skills are basically social
skills. Sometimes, it is also
known as People Skills or
Interpersonal Skills. Today soft
skills are more essential than
the technical abilities of a
person and hence these have
a prominent place in deciding
the fate of a person in this
Meaning – Hard Skills
Hard Skills are basically technical
skills. Hard skills are quantifiable
capabilities required for specific
occupations. They are opposite of
Soft Skills. Careers require
practitioners to have certain
practical and personal abilities.
Hard skills are the practical
abilities learned through
education and training. For
example, the hard skills that an
accountant would need include
arithmetic, familiarity with
Generally Accepted Accounting
Principles (GAAP), etc.
Hard Skills mean Technical
Skills and Conceptual Skills.
(Definition:) By the term
Conceptual Skills we mean
the ability to think
creatively, analyze and
and abstract ideas. An
individual seeking work
typically lists his or her hard
skills as part of a resume. In
order to be irreplaceable
one must possess unique
and impressive Hard Skills.
Definition: Soft Skills & Hard Skills
Soft skills are personal attributes that
enhance an individual's interactions, job
performance and career prospects.
Hard Skills are about a person's skill set and
ability to perform a certain type of task or
It's often said that hard skills will get you an
interview but you need soft skills to get (and
keep) the job.
Distinguish between Soft Skills and Hard Skills
Soft Skills Hard Skills
Soft skills are personal
attributes that enhance
job performance and
Hard Skills are about a
person's skill set and
ability to perform a
certain type of task or
Interpersonal Skills, etc.
Job Skills like typing,
reading, writing, etc.
Soft Skills Hard Skills
Soft skills will land the job because
employers want someone who won't
just perform their job function, but
will be a good personality fit for the
company and make a good
impression on clients/customers.
Hard Skills are essential to getting the
Soft Skills are hard to
Hard Skills are teachable abilities
which can be measures.
Keep calm under pressure;
responsibility and common sense;
communication; negotiation; good
manners and etiquettes, etc.
Accounting and finance; proficiency
with software applications; operating
machinery; speaking foreign
Soft Skills Hard Skills
To be good at Soft Skills Emotional
Intelligence or EQ also known as your
right brain- the emotional center is
To be good at Hard Skills Intelligence
Quotient or IQ also known as your
left brain-the logical center is
The rules change in soft skills like
Communication Skills, Self
Management Skills, etc. from time to
time depending on the company
culture and people you work with.
The rules remain the same in hard
skills, like for example programming is
a hard skill and technical skills remain
Most soft skills are not learnt well in
school, they are generally learnt by
trial and error and books and guides.
Hard Skills can be learnt in school and
from books. We can also learn on
how we can master Hard Skills.
Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills,
which is more important?
This depends highly on the career you choose. Careers
can be put into three kinds of categories:
1) Careers that need hard skills and little soft skills:
(example: Physicists); This is where you see brilliant
people who cannot deal well with people. They can still
be very successful in their career – look at Albert Einstein.
2) Careers that need both hard and soft skills – many
careers are in this category (example: Accountants,
Lawyers – they need to know the rules of accounting or
law well but they also depend on selling to clients to build
a successful career. Dealing well with clients require
excellent soft skills like communication skills, relationship
3) Careers that need mostly soft skills and little
hard skills (example: sales. A car salesman
doesn’t really need to know that much about
cars, just a little more than the consumer. His
job is more dependent on his ability to read his
customers, communicate his sales pitch,
persuasion skills, and skills to close to deal.
These are all soft skills Soft skills are more
important in most business careers than hard
skills. We all know or have worked for senior
people who in some cases have limited hard
skills. The fact remains that they are in senior
positions because they have exceptional soft
In today’s era of cut throat competition, one cannot deny the
importance of skills, soft as well as hard. To get an edge over
competitors individuals are left with no choice but to add
values to their hard skills with soft skills to exhibit their true
Some of the literature suggests that hard skills contribute to
only 15 to 20 percent of one’s success while remaining 80 to
85 percent is made by the soft skills. Most employers these
days want to hire, retain and promote persons who are
dependable, resourceful, ethical, self-directed, having
effective communication, willing to work, and learn and
having positive attitude.
Technical and job-related
skills are a must, but they are
not sufficient when it comes
to progressing up the ladder.
With the traditional
paternalistic style of
leadership becoming passé,
expect their teams to be
proactive and communicate
Soft skills are very important in business. It is essential to be
technically sound, but one should also have the ability to convey
the idea to the masses in the simplest possible manner.
A typical business degree program or executive training program
will focus on what are considered hard skills. Examples might
include strategic business planning, financial analysis, budgeting or
product development. An increasing number of companies are also
interested in the so called soft skills. These soft skills are best
defined as how a manager interacts with people.
The bottom line is that when it comes to being a good manager or
leader, you must master the hard skills of your specific job as well
as the soft skills of interpersonal relations. Interpersonal skills must
be a focus of your leadership development. Some people are
naturally better at personal interactions, but anyone can learn to do
better. The key is to recognize the importance of interpersonal
relations, honestly evaluate your skill level, and consciously improve
those behaviors those are the requirement of global and
Importance of Soft Skills in an Industry
Technical abilities may be important to get good
assignments in the initial years of one’s career, but
when it comes to growing in an organization it is one’s
personality that counts, especially on a large platform
where people with similar technical expertise,
proficiency and competitiveness are vying (competing)
In a country like India, ‘soft skills’ training becomes
even more important since the education system does
not include personality development anywhere in its
stream of academic curriculam. Corporate houses are
forced to invest more and more on soft skills training in
order to groom their employees to present themselves
in a better manner and improve their performance.
Nowadays companies recruit
employees not merely considering
their technical expertise but also after
seeing how proficient they are in
portraying their soft skills. A high
premium is placed on individuals
having both technical abilities as well
as the requisite soft skills in the
present, rapidly growing and
competitive corporate world,
especially in the IT and ITES sector.
Today’s software engineer in India is
no longer restricted to his own area of
work, but has to interact with various
kinds of clients, locally as well as
globally. More and more employees
are going abroad on projects and
assignments. Tele-conferencing and
video conferencing has become the
most common mode of
communication. WebEx is the most
convenient way to communicate
across places even within the country.
Importance of Soft Skills in an Interview
Soft skills in a job interview are
those characteristics that you use
to make decisions and interact
with others while on the job.
When an employer asks questions
designed to determine soft skills
competencies during the interview
process, she is trying to determine
your workplace personality and
how you will react in various
situations. The more prepared you
are to answer soft skills questions,
the better equipped you will be to
enhance your professional image.
Importance of Soft Skills in a workplace
Work ethics, teamwork,
communication skills, decision making
and problem solving are important soft
skills attributes for a workplace.
Companies value soft skills because they
are often linked to job performance and
career success. Soft skills may mean the
difference between who can do the job
and who actually gets the job.
The workplace needs to function
ethically and be legally responsible.
Employees need to be honest and
trustworthy. Take your work seriously,
be ethical in all your dealings, and follow
the rules. Employers want self-
disciplined people who follow company
policies. Failure to do so will result in
disciplinary or legal action. Always act
professionally and with maturity while
Importance of Soft Skills for Students
Soft skills will enable students with a strong conceptual
and practical framework to build, develop and manage
teams. They play an important role in the development
of the students’ overall personality, thereby enhancing
their career prospects.
Training in soft skills provides strong practical
orientation to the students and help them in building
and improving their skills in communication, the
effective use of English, business correspondence,
presentations, team-building, leadership, time
management, group discussions, interviews and
interpersonal skills. It also helps students in career
visioning and planning, effective resume writing and
dealing with placement consultants and head hunters.
Soft Skills training has become a must for the students who want to go for
job or higher studies. Soft skill is not a visible skill like the domain subject
content in a student but it helps in improving the personality of the person.
It gives finishing touch to the personality. It includes communication skills,
Interpersonal skills, group dynamics, teamwork, body language, etiquettes,
selling skills, presentation skills, confidence building etc.
Soft skills along with grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary exercises will
boost the confidence of students. For students, the blend of both soft and
hard skills is essential for personal, professional and social success.
Merits of Soft Skills
1) Soft Skills help you grow in
2) It gives you an eye to identify
and create opportunities.
3) It helps develop relationships
with clients and colleagues.
4) It helps develop good
leadership qualities in you.
5) It helps executives and
professionals create an
impact and brand value.
6) It helps get recognition.
7) It helps get promotions and
8) It increases ability to
perform the job.
9) It encourages incentives,
rewards and challenges for
10) It helps have a positive
11) Soft Skills help us adapt
and fit in a social structure.
12) Soft Skills improve our
work efficiency and
13) Soft Skills offer personal
14) Soft Skills increase our
value in the market.
15) Soft Skills help bring clarity
16) Soft skills help contribute
strongly to the
organization’s vision and
SIGNIFICANT SOFT SKILLS
Soft Skills is a vital part of
the success of an
Major Soft Skills are as
a) Communication Skills
b) Decision Making and
c) Leadership Skills
d) Teamwork & Self
e) Ethics, morals and
Major Soft Skills
1) Communication Skills :
The communicative skills involve
effective communication in both the
national language and English
language in different contexts and
with different people. The
communication skill an important
component that lacks in the present
human capital. The ability to
communicate through the spoken
and written word is a necessity in
nearly every industry and in every
workplace. Communication skills can
be learned and improved with the
2) Decision Making and Problem Solving :
Being able to make quick decisions, think
on their feet, and solve simple problems
are important employee traits. Even simple
problems can grind an office to a halt if no
one displays these simple skills. At least
one employee needs to have the ability to
take charge of a situation and guide the
others through if they have difficulty. The
employees who display these decision
making skills are often excellent
candidates for promotion to management
level. When taking a decision it is
important to look for solutions than
wasting time over a problem.
3) Leadership Skills :
Corporate leaders need to know their
business, know their customers, and
have the ability to execute a strategy
successfully. And leaders need to be
especially agile to stay current with their
business as the pace of change has
accelerated so dramatically. Great
leadership as a soft skill also requires not
only understanding customers’ current
needs, but accurately predicting future
needs as well. This knowledge of
business and customers becomes
relevant only when leaders also have the
ability to execute a strategy that drives
growth. Therefore, strong leadership is
one of the important Soft Skills an
individual must possess.
4) Teamwork and Self Confidence :
The ability to work well within a team is
another important soft skill. Some
employees may naturally feel
comfortable working within a group,
while others may have problems and
prefer to work alone. It is necessary to
spot these personality types ahead of
time for proper group formation. Every
team should have a diverse set of
personalities that mesh together as a
cohesive whole. Team building exercises
can be very beneficial in helping
employees develop this skill.
To achieve even the smallest of goals,
and to get through life's daily duties and
responsibilities, you have to have self-
5) Ethics, Morals and Professionalism :
Employees typically either display a
strong work ethic and the drive to
complete tasks, or they don't. While a
work ethic is largely an innate skill, it
can be learned with proper training
and motivation. Some employees may
be able to develop a stronger work
ethic with incentive based pay or
monetary rewards such as bonuses if
they reach a certain goal.
Ways to develop Soft Skills
1) Actively Listen –
Active listening involves focusing on
the moment, participating in the
conversation, waiting your turn to
speak, and asking for clarification
Active listening helps us focus on
the problem and think for a
solution. It helps us analyze and
understand things and situation
better in a workplace.
2) Communicate with
Choosing common terms or
illustrations to demonstrate your
point will help facilitate
Communicating with the help of
Jargons with a nontechnical person
Explaining with the help of analogies
or comparisons leads to clear
understanding and concept.
3) Take the lead (when
The ability to lead others, even if
only on small initiatives, is a key
Chances are you’ll be guiding
others—whether newcomers within
the department or junior members
of your team—at some point in your
Take the time to observe some of
the successful leaders within your
company and note their actions and
4) Nurture your inner writer –
Being able to write well is an asset
quality. It helps a lot in written
communication and formal
If you observe people at high
designation possess good writing
skills. Hence, we need to develop our
writing skills and the only solution to
develop this skill is practice.
5) Develop communication
Your goal should be to communicate
clearly through written, oral, and
nonverbal communication. Start simply
by being aware of how others feel
when they are around you or are
talking with you.
It is equally important that you make
eye contact, practice speaking and
monitor your body language.
Communication is a vital attribute in
the corporate world but not everyone
is capable of appropriate conduct in a
6) Step out of the box
physically and mentally –
It’s easy to spend an entire day in
your cubicle or office, but it’s not
the best career move. Involve
yourself into committees and know
what your employer expects from
you and how your efforts add to the
company’s overall goals.
Read business magazines and
articles online, stay up to date with
current trends and industries.
7) Develop Interpersonal Skills –
A person in the managerial level is
expected to have good inter personal
skills. Being the leader of the team, it is
his prerogative to handle inter personal
conflicts, personality clashes and other
issues related to the team. He should
be able analyze the differences in his
team and take impartial decisions.
A healthy formal interaction among the
employees in the organization
encourages increased productivity. In
this age of globalization, it is necessary
to have interpersonal skills to work
with people from different nations and
8) Develop and enhance
Presentation Skills –
People who are working for
corporate, more or less need to be
good presenters. Every area of
corporate life requires presentation.
It can be presenting before existing
or prospective customers, suppliers,
media or people within the
organization. Presentation in both
forms; oral as well as written form,
is important for managers and
9) Be attentive –
Pay attention to colleagues. Observe
your surroundings. Express concern
and sympathy towards difficult
10) Be Positive –
Positive Attitude draws people
towards you. Be friendly and upbeat.
Be appreciative about your
colleagues and their work.
11) Take initiative –
Demonstrate responsibility and
enthusiasm for your job by striving
to go the extra mile. This starts by
finishing work without constant
reminders from your supervisor.
12) Learn to listen –
Practice listening and not arguing.
Understand the other person’s point
of view. Co-workers will appreciate
the fact that you took time to listen.
Listening requires focus and self
discipline. Do not interrupt other
people. Respect them by listening
attentively to what they are saying.
Pay attention and observe while
listening other person’s body
Soft skills revolve around personal relationships, character, and attitude.
By developing these skills, you can increase your work performance, build
stronger relationships, and work toward earning a promotion. Soft Skills
help advance your career and personal growth.