Self-Help and Soft Skills: Why They Go Hand-In-Hand
Organizations are increasingly focusing on soft skills and are identifying potential employees by using behavioral or competency based interview techniques, rather than focusing on the technical skills. To begin with, let’s understand the difference between soft skills and hard skills.
‘Hard skills’ or technical skills are the skills that are required to get the job done and will depend on the nature of the job. Examples include operation of machinery, marketing, accounting and engineering. These skills are easy to learn and acquire and they can be observed, measured and quantified. They are easily taught too. On the other hand, soft skills which go by various other names including professional skills, people skills, core skills, work-life skills and employability skills to name a few, refer to a set of skills that are needed for day to day life and are useful not just for the job alone. They determine the ability to use both emotional and cognitive skills.
Soft play areas are a brilliant place for toddlers to visit for a number of reasons, not least because they are places which are incredibly enjoyable for them. If you want to see the benefits in your child, take them to soft play kmspicosoft areas regularly, so that they can continue to grow and develop.
Allowing your child to play in a soft play area may be essential for their proper development, because it provides them with a proper, controlled environment in which to test their limitations without risking serious injury. Although there are many special toys that a toddler can play with at home, soft play areas are much bigger and safer spaces. Because these areas have been designed for toddlers, they are soft enough to take a tumble in, without having to worry about getting hurt. It is much easier for a toddler to tumble in a soft play area than it is for them to tumble onto a hard wood floor or a rough carpet, as they would in the home. Knowing that they aren’t going to hurt themselves too much (other than the initial shock of falling) gives youngsters a much needed confidence boost to try out new things and develop their skills. They will be able to then transpose these skills to other environments.
Soft play areas have been designed to show children a multitude of different colours and shapes. All of the equipment which is included in a soft play zone will have been designed with a specific purpose (in addition to fun) in mind, even though you might not be able to identify that purpose at first glance. Brightly coloured equipment is always used because colours help to stimulate young children and stimulation can encourage brain development, which makes children more receptive to knowledge. Many of the pieces of play equipment can also be used for educational games, so your child will be able to learn about colours, shapes, numbers, letters and animals whilst they play.
As well as building their brains, play equipment can help young children to develop their motor skills. Soft play equipment such as ball pools and soft see-saws can help to teach children how to be more co-ordinated. They also help children to develop better spatial awareness skills. See-saw type toys help children to understand that the ways in which they use their bodies can affect other things around them.
Communal play areas help children to develop their social skills by allowing them to interact with other children. If your child does not have any other young siblings, this can be especially important, as it allows them to interact with people who are the same age as them. Building social skills at a young age is very important, as it can help children to communicate better in later life. In a play zone, children will learn important skills such as sharing and teamwork. They will also learn that playing well with others can increase their own level of enjoyment and happiness.
Examples include communication skills, time management, interpersonal skills, stress management, leadership, decision making, creativity and problem solving.
Companies want not good employees, but great employees. What are the characteristics and traits of great employees? The following attributes are observed in great employees:
Excellent technical skills
Unfortunately, the soft skills element is often overlooked. At the interview stage, it is possible to determine the depth and proficiency of hard skills a person has and also gauge his/her attitude. However, it is not possible to estimate the actual skills this person possesses.
A constantly changing work environment – due to technology, customer-driven markets, an information-based economy and globalisation that are currently impacting on the structure of the workplace and leading to an increased reliance on, and demand for, soft skills. Soft skills are not a replacement for hard- or technical-skills. They are, in many instances, complementary, and serve to unlock the potential for highly effective performance in people qualified with the requisite hard skills. Successful people encompass a mix of hard and soft skills. Studies by the Stanford Research Institute and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation among Fortune 500 CEOs found that 75% of long term job success depended on people skills and only 25% on technical skills.
So, are soft skills important? My answer is a big YES. My corporate career, which stretched over two decades, introduced me to a variety of soft-skills courses, workshops and programs. I cannot emphasize on how much these have helped me improve my skills. From a nervous wreck to a public speaker par excellence – just by attending a series of presentation skills courses. Likewise, I was fortunate enough to experience the outdoor leadership program organized by Outward Bound, which taught me the importance of being a team-player.
Few tips that have helped me in my quest for self-improvement in relation to soft skills:
If you get the chance to attend a soft skills program – grab the opportunity.
Take the course or program very seriously. I have seen a lot of employees who take the opportunity to attend these courses more like a relief from the normal work day and have a kind of resistance to learning even before they start the course. Avoid this attitude.
Be clear about the objectives of the course you will be attending and set your goals too.
Remember – you cannot become an expert by just attending one program. You need to put constant effort. Ask your instructor for more resources, books and websites you can refer to in future.
The effect of a soft skills training wears off quickly. So, keep updating your skills constantly. For e.g. if you attend a time-management program, you will find yourself better organized for the first three months and then you tend to go back to your normal self. Avoid this syndrome by constantly applying what you have learnt and improving on it by reading more, participating in web forums and subscribing to blogs that specialize on time-management.