One often hears many talks, announcements and mass mobilization Programme on Skill Development. Commonly all these refer to the Skill Development Programme launched by the PM of India. This flagship Programme has a definite ministry, CEO, training centers and dedicated budget.
Surprisingly not even a word on ‘Soft Skills or Communication Skills or in a simpler ways, the Life Skills” is found mentioned or discussed either at the regional or national canvas. This warrants a serious thinking.
As soft skills are a sociological term, relating to a person’s “EIQ” (Emotional Intelligent Quotient), the cluster of personality traits, social graces, language, communication, personal habits, friendliness and optimism that characterise relationship with other people. It is often said, hard skills are required to receive an interview call, but soft skills are needed to get and remain in the job or for furtherance of career growth. Hence, soft skills complement hard skills. Hard skills are specific to certain type of tasks or activities, where as soft skills are broadly but inescapably applicable to everything.
These skills add to your success, growth, earning, social interaction irrespective of whether you are running own business or part of someone’s business house, a CEO or an entry level executive, a nursery child or a school teacher, a college professor or a grad, an apprentice or an IT engineer, a Para medical intern or a Dr, a skilled labor or factory manager, a young lady at the work station or cluster manager and a thumb sulking baby or a nursing mother. In nutshell, everyone wants to make it big into a big ticket earning and success in life. This all comes from knowledge and application of soft skills.
India is known for producing technically very skilled people for any job. Sadly, the stark reality is that job does not come by mere technical competencies. One indeed qualifies for a job and stays in it only through the knowledge, observance and application of communication skills. One needs to be globally competent to sail thorough cultural, environmental and professional competition by proficiency in soft skills.
Good behaviour, social interaction, etiquettes and social adaptability are strong pillars for success, happiness and national positivity and productivity graph. Every successful organisation, small or big, recognises the seamless meshing needed amongst the soft skills of the workers, relationship with customers and effectiveness of the management. One commonly sees so many, with so much academic qualifications and far too much crowd at the job interview sites, failing to get a foothold in a corporate house. Why, because they do not know ‘how’.
It may sound ironic; today the preference is not for the fittest and hardest but for the internally prettiest. It is a hard to judge one by the way you look up to the people at large. On the contrary, the focus remains to filter cream from mannerism, social grace, body language, empathy, negotiating acumen, listening skills and amenable habits. Hiring managers are neither MRI machines nor astrologers. They gauge and hire trainable people seeing basic good grooming sense and personality in people. A better-groomed applicant is looked for through the cutting edge than to be over looked from the crowd.
Many people are unaware about the intense uneasiness intentionally created by the hiring managers during interview sessions. The hard-trained guy’s chances gets diminished before the well soft skilled trained candidate through his positive body language, self-motivation, self-regulation, comfortable composer and sheer ease and ease of communication skills. Such people over shadow others through people skills, personal attributes and being spot on.
The question arises; can one learn and improve soft skills in few sessions of such training when one has lived for years without such traits? Another limiting factor is that these skills are not part of any school or college Curriculum except selective business schools and professional studies. The regional official language differential further adds to the learning process challenges.
The answer is simple yes, surely one can learn. One can learn and practice these skills at home on daily basis with family members, milk vendor, newspaper vendor, domestic help, driver, waste cleaner and neighbors treating them as internal customers. When you do well, others follow suit. One will see emerging positive change in overall behavior and attitude at large. Everyone will sense success than mere hope.
The need to learn soft skills has become imminent necessity to survive in future. Simply because everyone cannot own a business or become a successful entrepreneur to earn for living. With constant de-hiring, slow/no fresh hiring, costly and stressful life, rupee falling, shooting inflation, increasing needs to fund kids’ education, diminishing savings, changing life styles and costly health care, one ultimately hopes to survive with a meaningful job. Therefore, how do you succeed at managing this meaningful job? When the competition is fierce, we need to focus on improving our strength. This strength-giving one an edge, lies in plethora of soft skills, be it communication skill, presentation skill, team work or essential leadership practices.
The varied facets connected with both lack and learning of a series of these skills is further compounded in the State of Jammu and Kashmir when people are not so apt in spoken English and their absolute unawareness about the dire need of soft skills. The multi- language, multi religious caste composition, resultant ethnicity and twin education governing bodies understandably make it more difficult to focus on English language and hence need extra efforts. Private societies and trusts running private schools further add to the woes. Focus of educational societies, trustees and promoting bodies remain at raising the percentage bars and core business and not clubbing skills teaching in the class rooms.
More degrees with high percentages not laced with good communication skills, give it all at the very start of any conversation. One may continue to argue and live under the false premise of being expert in national Language Hindi and its approval by the UPSC. In reality the English language will continue to rule the ruse for ages to come due to its need, wider global acceptability and inherent advantage of it already a part of almost all the educational curriculums. May be teaching these skills needs to mandated under the ambit of educational institutions social responsibility. Therefore, it is time, all concerned spare a thought and focus on this success recipe for future generations.
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