Soft Skills Soft Thinking

Whenever I hear the term ‘soft skills’ my brain turns into soft mush.ThinkingSmall???????? ? ??????? ??? ??????


Because to me the term infers that ‘soft skills’ are really not that important when they are probably the most important skills in the workplace, especially in the area of transformational change. I’m biased here because that’s the area we specialise in using our AQ-KQ framework.

The English dictionary defines soft skills as ‘desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude‘.

Can you imagine what would happen to a change effort if the opposite were true:

You’ve probably come up with the same conclusion as I have in this scenario – failure to change.

For transformational change to take place, knowledge needs to be balanced with common sense, an ability to deal with people and a positive flexible attitude.

Without that balance one can become an Academic Derelict – ‘knowledgeable but running on empty’.

One of the assumptions of Appreciative Inquiry  is ‘the language we use shapes our reality’. And words such as ‘soft skills’ shape a reality that is not really an accurate reflection of how important these skills are.

I prefer to use the words ‘essential skills’ instead of ‘soft skills’ because that’s exactly what they are – essential.

Without these skills your brain will turn into soft mush.


  1. Mo McKenna says

    love the reframe and term ‘essential’ skills


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