Balancing Hard and Soft Skills

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 716212

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Balancing Hard and Soft Skills

  • Robert Sterbal

    SSChampion

    Points: 10967

    It might be nice to do a follow up on how and where best to learn soft skills.

    412-977-3526 call/text

  • TomThomson

    SSC Guru

    Points: 104772

    I agree with most of this article, as I have seen pretty catastrophic results of soft skills being ignored, neglected, and/or deprecated.  The one thing I disagree with in the article is the crazy idea that soft skills are something for which the need increases with age; in the real world, it's important that engineers acquire those skills as early as possible.   Often the "brilliant young engineers" have no soft skills at all and regard the whole concept of them as silly nonsense and do about as much damage to projects and production as managers who haven't a clue how to lead.  Those managers of course don't have a clue simply  because when they were brilliant young engineers (or marketeers or accountants or whatever) they were allowed (and probably encouraged) to treat soft skills as worthless.

     

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by  TomThomson.

    Tom

  • TomThomson

    SSC Guru

    Points: 104772

    wrote:

    It might be nice to do a follow up on how and where best to learn soft skills.

    I think it's probably best to find a job in a firm that insists on everyone respecting everyone else and everyone elses' skills.  It's probably hard to find such a firm - and often it's hard for a firm to keep that quality, because the shareholders will believe some businessman who will wreck the enterprise by destroying all that "pathetic nonsense about mtuual respect" (I won't say where I heard that description, but it was an something agreement betwen one divisional director and agreed with by another in a firm which inevitably couldn't last; and a view supported by junior management in their divisions).

    I guess there is some chance of learning something useful about soft skills in an institution which aims at teaching them, but I don't think that's the best way to learn those skills.

    Like maths, sciences, engineering and linguistics - all of which are generally seen as hard skills - the soft skills are best learnt by experiencing real work with people who have them.  A shiny new graduate of a course on those skills wont know how to get them to work in practise - learning on the job is much better, as long as both the learner and those who should be showing him what and hiw to learn, really do want hime to acquire soft skills.  But it's usually important that hard skills are learnt that way too: a first class honours degree (degree summa cum laude for you latin-speaking Americans who don't classify "honours" degrees) doesn't mean a damned thing about how competent some one is whether the degree is in a hard subject or in a soft one - what matters in the long run is what is learnt while trying to do the job.

    Tom

  • David.Poole

    SSC Guru

    Points: 75194

    There is a difference between telling and selling.  You can tell people until you are blue in the face and no matter how right you may be that is no substitute for being believed. I'm sure many of us have been frustrated when our carefully thought out, factual argument is trashed by Captain Bravo Sierra successfully advocating the inflatable dartboard. There's a lot to learn from these blokes, particularly why people listen to them.

     

    There's loads I wish I'd learned earlier in my career and I cringe at how badly I've mishandled certain situations due to a lack of softskills.

    As an Aspie I'm learning stuff about human interaction in my 50s that school kids master in their early teens.

    I could write an article on what I've learned but those who are socially skilled would probably read it with stunned disbelief.  Strangely it seems to work for me though I don't know why/how

  • BrainDonor

    SSCoach

    Points: 19206

    Some years ago I was one of the group of 50 or so people that Paul Randal offered to mentor.

    At the start of the exercise he sent an extensive list of skills to grade yourself against. I was surprised to see within that, a large list of soft skills that he wanted to measure.

    As you become more senior in whatever role you are in, inter-personnel skills become more important. There are some superb technicians out there that are quite incapable of influencing the environment that they are working within, or of explaining complex issues and solutions to non-technical people, who may be responsible for approving the work they are trying to describe. Ultimately these wonderful technicians can become very frustrated and unhappy in their role.

    Steve Hall
    Linkedin
    Blog Site

  • TomThomson

    SSC Guru

    Points: 104772

    David.Poole wrote:

    As an Aspie I'm learning stuff about human interaction in my 50s that school kids master in their early teens. I could write an article on what I've learned but those who are socially skilled would probably read it with stunned disbelief.  Strangely it seems to work for me though I don't know why/how

    I suspect that if you did write such an article it would be useful to some of the bright young things who haven't yet realised that soft skills matter and to almost all of the bright young things who have realised that soft skills really do matter.

    Tom

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Login to reply