(1 minute read)

While the need for technical competence in select roles has little room for negotiation, the rise and rise in the demand for ‘soft’ (non-technical) competencies cannot be ignored.

Soft skills encompass attributes that are crucial for establishing and strengthening professional relationships, such as effective communication, emotional intelligence, influence, persuasion and negotiating skills, which make them invaluable for both our professional and personal lives.

While technical competence can equip an individual with the necessary ‘hard’ skills to complete a task to meet the business brief, this can be complemented by a strong work-ethic, above average levels of self-motivation and the empathy to understand the consumer’s needs.

During a recent workshop, we asked participants to list the essential ingredients/competencies for effective leadership. The results of this brainstorm were dominated by ‘soft’ skills (80%) and included networking, teamwork, integrity, honesty, transparency, diplomacy, initiative, and a student mentality.

We can’t deny that technical competence is required to complete a task – think of your next scheduled car service or visit to your local GP.

However, to possess all the technical competence, without the behavioural attributes, can limit our ability to work with others and realise success.

After all, we are human beings first, human doings second.

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