MBA, Engineering, Medical or any other discipline degrees and technical part of experience can make you a model; but not role model! These give you hard skills and knowledge in a given field, enable you to enter an organization or profession; but take you further only to a limited level!! What really helps you is what makes you to deliver or demonstrate your knowledge and experience i.e. Soft Skills. Everyone picks up soft skills from childhood to adulthood in informal and formal way by undergoing specific training and development. However, irony is that very few notice that it is soft skills, which create wonders in terms of results and effects.
What stand between model and role model are soft skills!
You would find that every management guru talks about focus, grit, ownership, change management, decision making, passion, no giving-up and so on. What is this all about?
Why 2 persons with same qualification and equal experience are so different!
2 bosses, 2 teachers, 2 preachers or 2 leaders, though identical in qualifications and expertise, look or fare very different – one is dynamic and other is docile, one is impressive and other is ineffective, one is loved and other is hated, one is authoritative but other is autocratic!
Such variance is purely attributable to their soft skills!!
Harvard Business School, USA normally rolls out masterpieces; but I have seen some of its past students being very mediocre! Difference comes from their soft skills. Yet, the School stands out compared to many other business schools, as it not only develops subject knowledge; but has built in features of developing soft skills (I am not sure, how much the School knows about it!).
Going harder on hard skills hurts!
No doubt, you do need hard skills. These are essential and create and consolidate your knowledge in a given field. But, if you keep focusing too much on your hard skills, you would start to lose out in real world. You would run eminent risk of becoming:
- Narrowly focused
Therefore, most of toppers in colleges or holders of many degrees do not top in their career or personal lives.
Why you hang around hard skills
Whole world hangs around hard skills for one simple reason. These are objective and related to real objects or activities that can be measured. This develops a mindset that I cannot survive without these, though it is only partly true. On the other hand, soft skills are subjective and you tend to believe that one can do without these.
Hard skills have clear definition, whereas soft skills have vague definitions and subject to lot of interpretations. This is another reason, why many tend to keep away from soft skills.
However, rule of nature is clear –
Degree of “your progress and responsibilities” is inversely proportional to “use of hard skills” and directly proportional to “soft skills”!
Someone may argue that would being harder on both types of skills not yield even better results. Not really; actually it would deteriorate and that’s what above rule also shows!
So, you can only move up, if you reduce your focus on hard skills and put more force behind soft skills.
Soft skill is software of your life!
You can easily draw a parallel with computers or smart hand held/lap devices. Hard skill is like hardware of these devices, which cannot function without software i.e. soft skills. If soft skills of these devises are improved, devices become beautiful and very appealing. This is what Steve Jobs did for i-products of Apple!
So, you have your life, which has your physical body and all what you can count – your degrees, age, experience, money and belongings. But, these are no more than hardware of a computer. Software of your life is actually soft skills in form of your qualities and character, which when combined with the said hardware create real value and worth for your life!
Mother seed for soft skills
There are 2 key skills, which together form the seed of harvesting and harnessing other soft skills:
It is important that Sincerity and Focus be treated like 2 sides of same coin i.e. should go hand in hand; otherwise real impact would be lost!
If people around the world generally fail to fructify soft skills and go in circles or back and forth, it is because they do not first develop these 2 key skills simultaneously. Having other soft skills with none or part of these 2 skills is like having no or poor operating system (OS) in your computer or smart phone!
Only when you are sincere and focused at the same time, former would give birth to solid ownership, honesty, empathy, enthusiasm, gratitude, patience and so on. Latter part of this combination would develop strong passion, dedication, innovation, attention to details, courage, confidence, sharp memory etc.
So, hard skills constructs only a model in you; but going harder on soft skills catapults you to Role Model. And the mother seed of all skills is “your Sincerity to the core + Focus on contents like 2 sides of same coin!”