• Tracy Hooper

Soft Skills = ...


If someone tells you, “You’re good at ‘soft skills,’” consider that high praise.

I haven’t always thought that way. When I started The Confidence Project, some people would say, “Oh, you teach ‘soft skills.’” And I’d get defensive (internally) and think, “Soft skills are as important as any other business skill.”

Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist & business professor at the University of Pennsylvania. I follow him on Instagram, and I admire his business insights because he focuses on the people behind the products and not the products.

Recently, he posted that the concept of “’soft skills’ originated in the U.S. Army to capture important capabilities that didn’t involve working with machines.”

Then he said, “The irony of soft skills is that they’re often the hardest to master. Leadership, communication, collaboration, creativity, and adaptability may not be technical, but they’re increasingly vital. Behavioral, social, and emotional skills are what make humans indispensable.”

Then he asked this question: “What should we call ‘soft skills’, so they don’t sound so weak or fluffy?”

He got 583 comments!

Here’s a sampling.

Soft skills equal: Essential skills. Power skills. Success skills. Human skills. Core skills. Critical skills. Empowering skills. Global skills. Hero skills. Courage skills. EQ skills. 21st century skills. Superpower skills. Executive skills. Secret sauce skills. Compassion skills. Core relational skills and Connection skills.

As we begin the Thanksgiving season, remember to be thankful for the soft skills that you have…that have gotten you and your team through these last 20-months of life, and business, during a global pandemic!

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