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Why soft skills matter?

soft skills

Soft skills are a topic on everybody’s lips, to such an extent that some Human Resources Managers sing the praise of these non-technical abilities. The American Business School of Paris invites you to discover what soft skills are in practice, what their different categories are, and how you can use them to enhance your emotional intelligence.

The six categories of soft skills employers are looking for

#1 Communication

It refers to active listening skills but also to the ability to speak and write with an emphasis on conveying ideas and opinions in a clear, fluid and professional manner.

#2 Decision-making and problem solving

These two soft skills correspond to the ability to analyze and make a decision. This category also includes creativity and abstract thinking, as well as the ability to consider experiences and mistakes as useful learning tools.

#3 Self-management

Self-management skills include effectiveness, adaptability, sense of emergency, ability to work under pressure, and respect for ethical standards that govern personal behavior and interactions with colleagues and clients.

#4 Teamwork

It is simply the ability to work and have fun as a team. Teamwork strengths include among others responsibility, accountability, as well as the ability to enrich each other and share ideas in a positive and motivating way, which improves the whole team.

#5 Professionalism

Professionalism is reflected in the quality of relationships with customers, colleagues and managers. Being professional also means to accept to follow the instructions provided by hierarchical superiors. To be professional is to ensure that personal considerations do not interfere or impact professional requirements.

#6 Leadership

It is the ability to see the big picture, to be proactive and to manage change. Attributes of leadership also include the willingness to lead, supervise, to mentor and monitor, as well as the ability to motivate others

Soft skills and Emotional Intelligence

The definition of these six categories makes it possible to better understand why employers are putting more weight on soft skills. But there is another important reason why you should focus on developing these non-technical competencies: a study published in 2015 by Harvard University showed that 85% of career success is due to the mastery of soft skills and only 15% is due to technical skills. The concept of emotional intelligence (EI) that was coined by two researchers, John Mayer and Peter Salavoy confirms this statistic. Indeed, there is an obvious link between soft skills and Emotional Intelligence.

In his 1995 book, soberly entitled “Emotional Intelligence”, the psychologist Daniel Goleman considers that an individual needs an IQ of over 115, only barely above average, to master the technical knowledge necessary to be a doctor, lawyer or business leader. Once in the labor market, IQ and technical skills are often the same for people who have followed the same career path. Emotional intelligence is thus the differentiator that allows individuals to stand out from the crowd. Indeed, it is emotional intelligence that allows individuals to develop and strengthen their soft skills.

What is the difference between IQ and EI?

The main difference between IQ and EI is that the latter can be developed, unlike IQ which depends for 40 to 80% on genetics. Laura Wilcox, director of management programs at Harvard Extension School, explains that the development of emotional intelligence requires more efficient management of interactions between the emotional and the cognitive sides of the brain. Because emotions are instinctive, they occur before the cognitive side of the brain can perform a rational analysis. Emotions can then impact our ability to reason. The development of emotional intelligence involves controlling our ability to manage emotional reactions, and requires self-control.

In addition, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence are closely intertwined. It is clear that people with a high level of emotional intelligence are more likely to have good communication skills, which can result in effective teamwork and leadership that is both participatory and responsive to the people and situations around us.

At the American Business School of Paris, we strive to provide our students with all the necessary means to develop their non-technical skills, including their international openness through concrete initiatives. The school continuously improves the quality of its teaching while transmitting to its students the values of respect for diversity and tolerance, as well as a sense of social responsibility. The American Business School of Paris also encourages its students to embrace ethical principles when making decisions, whether at the professional or personal level. Discover our programs and join the International Business School!