There’s something about the term “soft” skills that sounds “less than” – something less important or real than that which is “hard” – think evidence, news, work, etc.
But this is a misconception -it’s often the “soft skills” (e.g. teamwork, problem-solving, decision-making, communication, self-awareness) that differentiate leaders and allow them to excel. When a leader struggles in their role, it’s typically a deficiency in soft skills that is holding them back. Experts designate critical thinking (problem-solving & decision-making), communication, and teamwork as the most critical soft skills for leaders.
“Hard” skills are job-specific and job-related – areas of content or technical expertise. They are typically more easily defined and tested – but does that make them more legitimate? As organizational theorist and professor Russell Ackoff liked to point out, “Because we cannot always measure what we need, we tend to need what we can measure.”
Afraid that investing in soft skills won’t translate into results? No need to fear: recent studies found investing in critical soft skills brought a return on investment of 256-364%! For every $1,000 spent, there’s a return of $2500-3600 in improved operations, productivity, job satisfaction. That is a lot of bang for the bucks!
Where could soft skills improvements make the difference for your district?