Thursday, June 20

Debunking the myths of soft skills


BELIEVE it or not, there are myths surrounding soft skills and this includes the assumption that soft skills reflect an individual’s ‘softer’ side!

However, as we’ve covered in SarawakYES!, soft skills don’t make us any ‘softer’, and they don’t just include communication or teamwork skills.

They encompass a combination of interpersonal and intrapersonal abilities – creativity, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, and countless more – frequently used in our relationships and interactions with others.

And when we have high levels of soft skills, we are able to demonstrate our strength and empowerment through our personality, attitude and behaviour as we confront and respond to varying degrees of situations in life.

This week we cover a few other myths about soft skills that deserve to be debunked.

Soft skills are inborn

In any setting, you are bound to meet people who may or may not be as conversational, empathetic, or creative as you.

Still, like technical skills, you can learn and improve your soft skills. A very effective way is through experience and practice, which allows you to step out of your comfort zone and overcome your fear and uncertainty of how others perceive you.

English is a must to master soft skills

While it is important to master the world’s lingua franca, you don’t necessarily have to be extremely fluent in English to develop your soft skills.

In fact, according to international leadership consultant and coach Prof MS Rao, there is no connection between soft skills and any particular language. Rather, soft skills focus on the way you communicate or relate to others, regardless of the language you speak.

You don’t need soft skills to thrive

Any job, whether technical or non-technical, requires a balance of soft and hard skills.

And, together with the necessary skill sets, you need to perform well at work and to be able to adapt to different cultures of different workplaces in order to grow and succeed in your career.

You only develop your soft skills in school

Although you’ll learn soft skills-related courses in college or university, the knowledge you have gained from there won’t be sufficient in the long run.

Thus, you need to continue learning and developing them even after you graduate, because no matter how old you are, soft skills will always be important.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the

topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.