I wonder why we call the easy stuff—like technical skills, professional mastery and STEM subjects—the “hard skills” and the really difficult stuff—like inspiring other people and leadership—the “soft skills”. This seems upside down to me—the “soft skills” are the really hard ones.
Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking website, has observed that the biggest skills gap in the US is not coding. At a recent Wired Forum on the future of work, he observed, “As powerful as AI will ultimately become, and is becoming, we’re still a ways away from computers being able to replicate and replace human interaction and human touch. So, there’s a wonderful incentive for people to develop these skills because those jobs (are) going to be more stable for a longer period of time.”
Although this is a statement of the obvious, we still seem to have great difficulty wrapping our heads around the idea that the most important work for all of us as leaders is to learn and master empathy, communication, inspiration, love, listening, compassion, culture-building, and many more, so that we can model these and teach them to others?
Those who have already figured this out have stopped chasing their tails and are building great organizations, communities, families and nations.
Have you committed to investing in “soft skills” just as much as you invest in the “hard skills”? This short quiz might help you to answer that question.