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Skill and Soft Skill
Human Resources » Training & Education

Chrm Message From: professormamta Total Posts: 28 Join Date: 28/11/2006
Rank: Executive Post Date: 28/11/2006 00:10:05 Points: 140 Location: United States

Hello from Professor Mamta (new member) !! To start off the beginning at this valued platform, I'll initiate with a small briefing on skills & soft skills since I've come across several students/management professionals who yet aren't clear enough on the partition between the two.

According to my understanding, 'skill' means the efficiency at doing something rather, efficiently applying the knowledge; For ex. I may know how to cook Pizza, but I may not be able to apply that knowledge in cooking Mouth watering be more elaborate, I know what is recruitment process but I don't know how to recruit people, that means I don't have the skill to cook Pizza or to recruit people....(they are very crude examples, I am aware of that)

Thus, Knowledge means 'what' and Skill means 'How' to apply that knowledge for good results.

Soft skills are something that cannot be measured in a quantity, that is they are non quantifiable aspect of a person. For ex, you can tell how good a person is at 'C' language by asking him to do difficult programs or by taking an exam and giving him grades...but it is rather difficult to guage How much Communication Skills does a person have, or how much Leadership abilities a person has.....Soft Skills cannot be measured, their judgement is also relative....means for me a person may be excellent at communication skills but for you he may not.

Examples of Soft skills can be Communication Skills (very common example, many times mistaken as the only soft skill), Decision Making Skills, Entrepreunership, Leadership skills etc. Mostly they are a Behavioral Aspect of a person.

I hope that, this explanation does throw some light on the above difference.

I would also like to get some suggestions from you all, and also corrections if I am wrong in explaining anything.

Professor Mamta


Chrm Message From: Sophiya Total Posts: 33 Join Date: 28/11/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 28/11/2006 00:16:16 Points: 165 Location: United States

Skill is ability to do a thing in an effective way - More the effectiveness better the skill.

Driving, Typing, Cooking, Computer skills, language skills, Flying, Speaking - any activity that you would do which can be repeated as and when you are called to do so is a skill. Most of them are measurable.

Soft skills are those which are difficult to measure but nevertheless can be perceived. Leadership, Counselling, Thinking, Decision Making, Coordination and execution, Programming, writing, expressing, Acting, interviewing, etc. are soft skills.

Warm Regards,

Sophiya Grenber

Chrm Message From: shawn Total Posts: 40 Join Date: 28/11/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 28/11/2006 00:19:25 Points: 200 Location: United States

Welcome to chrm, prof mamta. Now here's my perspective on this discussion..

I define Learning ONLY when it is applied, till then it is only cognitive "awareness" and NOT "learning"...

Having defined Learning thus, we all learn in TWO ways mainly...

1. Learn by Shock (like a child that touches a flame... It has learnt the lesson in just one instance)
2. Learn by Repetition (like cycling... We do it many times before we actually learn to cycle)

SKILL as a word is used in the context of Learning by Repetition... Playing a Violin, Driving a Car, Playing Tennis etc.

Usually, we use the prefix HARD for something that is Tangible, Measurable directly. E.g., Hardware, something that is seen, can be touched etc... We use the prefix SOFT for something that is not-easily measurable directly. E.g., Software, something that we know runs in a machine, but we really cannot "see" where it is and measure it.

I guess Soft-skills emerged using the same paradigm as compared to Hard-skills!!

Pls revert for further discussions...


Chrm Message From: proftandon Total Posts: 101 Join Date: 28/11/2006  
Rank: Leader Post Date: 28/11/2006 00:23:04 Points: 505 Location: United States

Hello Professor & Colleagues ; )

A lot of discussion on - What is soft skill?

To me that word itself is a misnomer-and causes a lot of concern and difficulty for trainers.

Let me explain-when it comes to;leadership-promotioins-and all other processes,we bank heavily on what we call soft skills.What is soft about leadership?-about assertive behaviour-about empathy-about team inteaction.?

Unfortuantely the term was coined at a time when IQ was "the "factor for everything in your job-till we realised that something was absolutely-na-na

The 90's proved it even better and then we saw the rise of what had been espoused 50-60 years ago-social skills

The rise of EQ ,todays focus on behaviour,values,ethics,and skills makes this term redundant and misleading.

Try training a software guy on anything called soft skills and you will know what I mean-say software and the feeling is I am the one

My concern has always been "but that is just their job"-what about the person in them?Paying attention to all aspects of myself for me then is a soft skill-interpersonal skills-love-not being stressed-not burning out-being where I want to be-growing myself laterally-discovering myself-knowing me-remaing mentally young-achievements-not sucesses-joy in what I do-giving of myself and mentoring and coaching and......

Exactly why it is not soft-it requires courage to face your self.Multiple intelligences and multi-skills to come to terms with and then by far the most difficult part of it all-change-change that requires constant working at/on

And that is why there is nothing "soft "about soft skills-they were once-today they are the survival skills-growth skills and above all your achievement and sucess skills.

Anyone to buy this ahead..

Prof Tandon

Chrm Message From: vijayraj Total Posts: 41 Join Date: 28/11/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 28/11/2006 03:51:58 Points: 205 Location: United States

Dear Friends,

I too am following this thread of mail on soft skills with great interest so as to really understand the word / concept of soft skills.

I am also quite unclear as to why this word "soft skills" was coined.

However, I fully agree with your views.

In my career span in HR, I have learnt from leading consultants of India, that skills can be categorised into two heads broadly :-

1. Functional Skills

2 Behavioral Skills

Things are fine with me with these two categories. I have been using them for in-house training. Recently I had coached a few MBA students on behavioral skills which, they were calling as soft skills.

Sometimes, our own jargons land us into mess.

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