The hard skills are dominant
In the western culture, we focus on doing, on hard skills, on a job title, on a measurable result. We emphasize on the hard skills and forget that we need soft skills too. There is an imbalance between the visible and invisible. The postulate “if something cannot be measured, then it does not exists” disrupts our grasp on reality. This scientific approach forces us to analyze everything. Granting no place for the unexpected or invisible in our lives. This rigidity makes us vulnerable to change stress. We think we know what is coming because we decided what should happen, when and where. Companies make plans for the next five years while having no clue on what is coming within the next six months. Managers impose decisions without taking into account the emotional aspect of change. We forgot that many things in our lives cannot be measured accurately.
We pretend to be able to change things we have no control over. We fake to be strong because being soft, vulnerable (human) is not acceptable. We must be perfect and make no mistakes. We are very hard on ourselves. We expect others to be perfect too. In this poker face game, no one wins in the end. Leaders get frustrated and followers get disconnected.
The soft skills are raising in importance
Soft skills are a velvet glove that embraces the hard skills. Soft skills are intangible. They relate to the radiation people offer you. It is a very personal matter. Your soft skills are linked to your intuition, connection to others, connection with yourself, inner strength and dialogue. Soft skills are the feelings that give you a hint on what to do. Awareness of oneself and other is an important skill. It allows you to adapt to a new situation by sensing what is going on. Humans have 5 senses, a body, and a mind. The connection between the body and the mind is often ignored in the western culture. We are so involved with our minds that we ignore our bodies’ messages. We ignore fatigue, hunger, stress because we have become control freaks.Soft skills are a velvet glove that embraces the hard skills. Click To Tweet
Soft, hard skills & feminine and masculine principles
I like to make a parallel between hard and soft skills and the feminine and masculine. The companies were built with a strong masculine principle. The one of action, order, and dominance which can be compared with hard skills. The feminine side which is linked to intuition, emotions, and feelings did not exist in companies until women started to enter the workforce. The soft skills needed for leadership, not the dictatorship, are slowly being accepted. The introduction of more feminine impulse and soft skills influence the workplace and creates a new type of balance. Where emotions, intuition, and feelings are accepted as part of the decision process.
The consequences of hard skill dominance in the workplace
The existing imbalance between soft and hards skills shows its impact in companies. We ignore the soft skills which create miscommunication, misinterpretation and a disconnect between employees. Managers are giving orders without understanding the hidden aspect of human interactions. They are too disconnected from their feminine side. I know a business owner who does not even realize how people react to his behavior. He is blind to the un-comfort and disappointment he creates in others. This lack of connection to his own awareness creates his blindness. He is slowly losing connection with others who prefer to avoid him as much as they can. Another business owner thinks that literally “changing his pair of business shoes into red baskets” will show his employees how to manage change. Both business owners are using their hard skills to get what they want but did not develop the necessary soft skills to become more connected to others. I see the following consequences:
- Get angry and frustrated easily
- Low self-confidence
- Poor communication skills
- No perseverance
- Cannot get along with difficult people
- Do not look for feedback
- Cannot Self-assess
What happens when the soft & hard skills meet?
Things are changing in companies. More and more people are attracted by alternate ways of working. A simple google search for New Work will give you more and more answers. Employees at all level are looking for a relief in yoga, meditation, and self-development. There is this yearning for more body mind connection. Sciences are showing that the state of mind influences the body. A stressed employee has more chance to become ill than one that is engaged, happy and satisfied. As more and more people understand deeply that connection there is a search for more meaning in our life. There is no more separation between work and life as work is part of life. Work life blending becomes a new trend for example.
Some CEOs desire to share their power with their employees but do not know how to do it because they are scared of the potential negative consequences. On the other side, employees are willing to take over more responsibilities but are afraid to be held responsible for their mistakes. This is when soft and hard skills meet and help us go forward: Our soft skills can support us in opening the dialogue with other and stay true to ourselves while the hard skills enable us to enact our ideas.
Self-management is possible when both the leader and its employees are ready to openly communicate and show their true self. This is not easy and neither comfortable at the beginning but it is more rewarding in the end. It helps build contentment in almost everyone.Soft skills are a velvet glove that embraces the hard skills. Click To Tweet
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