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Soft skills—The real skills

Dr. Sujith Pardeshi
Dr.Sujith Pardeshi

Dr.Sujith Pardeshi

Sun. 21 August 2016

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Dr. Sujit Pardeshi is a well known author, dentist, personality development-management trainer & public speaker. He has done his Masters in Business Administration in human resource management after completing his BDS. He is awarded ‘Certified National Trainer’ status by Junior Chambers International for soft skills & management skills. Labeled as India’s leading practice management Guru, Dr Sujit has developed special training modules for doctors in general and dentists in particular. A seasoned trainer, Sujit has conducted hundreds of seminars and workshops nationally as well as internationally. His two day course DentXL is highly recommended across the country. He has authored the bestseller book on dental practice management namely New Age Dentalpreneur – Develop A Competitive Edge & Build A Profitable Dental Practice, first of its kind by an Indian author/dentist. He has also written many articles in various dental publications. He is a pioneer and the only professional trainer of this kind in India, and is an authority on the practice of management.

Have you ever heard this term “soft skills”?
These are the skills pertaining to our personality, attitude and behavior. It is about ‘How we speak’ rather than ‘what we speak’. Many people often refer to Soft skills as 'people skills' or 'emotional intelligence' or ‘Life skills’. As opposed to soft skills, domain skills are the technical abilities required to do a job or perform a task: essentially they are acquired through training and education programs i.e. our BDS or MDS degrees. Domain skills are also called ‘Hard skills’ or ‘Core skills’ or ‘technical skills’.

Soft skills constitutes communication skills, leadership, team building, interpersonal skills, presentation skills and management skills like time management, stress management etc.
It is really surprising that more than 75% medical professionals in India do not even know what soft skills are. We are in one of the most educated fields and call our profession as “Nobel profession” but are still unaware of something which naturally makes or would make it more Nobel. Let’s see the details of something that is a ‘must learn’ for us!

Importance of Soft Skills. A constantly changing work environment - due to technology, customer-driven markets, an information-based economy and globalization that are currently impacting on the structure of the workplace and are 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. They add synergistic value to domain skills.

According to psychologist Daniel Coleman, a combination of competencies contribute to a person's ability to manage his or herself and relate to other people-matters twice as much as IQ or technical skills in job success. Soft skills essentially help in increasing productivity & performance. A research by Harvard University presented a very stunning graph about the role of soft skills in order to succeed in any form of life. it says that soft skills constitute 87.5% while Domain skills constitute only 12.5%.

This explains the stupendous importance of soft skills in a person’s success. Isn’t it surprising that we spend about 25 years of our life and huge amount of money to acquire Domain skills which actually contributes to only 1/8th portion of success whereas almost all the success is directly proportional to the depth of soft skills we possess & our ability to use them effectively. That’s why I said in the beginning that it is a ‘surprising’ observation that many professionals do not even know the term ‘soft skills’, forget about acquiring the knowledge about the same.

Have you ever thought about this?

  • Have we ever thought about the time & money we spend to acquire the soft skills in our life?
  • Did we any time realize the importance of using soft skills effectively in our day to day life, may it be our personal or professional life?
  • Did we make any conscious move to know about them?
  • Why has nobody ever taught or made us aware of them in dental collages or schools?
  • Why don’t we know about soft skills in the first place?

Friends, there would be endless questions floating in your mind after going through the above graph, almost all of them would practically remain unanswered! You might think that life would have definitely been better or your dental practice have had already gone up or someone could have handled a breaking relationship in a different way or one could have been a better person…had we known about the soft skills before, may be 10 years before…may be 20…may be just a couple! This is what exactly explains why few of our colleagues do much better professionally than many scholars even though they were mediocre academically in the collages days. This is what precisely explains why in spite of having same academic qualification, few dentists have got roaring practice than many others. This is what perfectly proves the importance of soft skills.

Never the less, remember that awareness precedes change. Unless you are aware about anything, it is simply impossible to strive for achieving the same. Legendary author Stephen Covey had nicely said that everything in this world is created twice – first in human mind and then in reality. Therefore, once you are aware of it and get convinced, it actually is a sin to ignore and not to opt for betterment. Always keep in mind that ‘It is never too late to start a good thing’.

Relevance
This doesn’t mean that we don’t possess soft skills. All of us definitely have and use them, may be subconsciously. Right from the moment we get out of the bed till we say good night, we use our mind to communicate with others in our family, workplace and society in the best possible way. We try our level best to organize the things throughout the day or we try to make our daily life comfortable by whatever means we can. What exactly we do to achieve this is use the soft skills we have. So we have them but we can definitely make some conscious steps to enhance them, to improve our communication, confidence, and positive attitude and thus ultimately reshape our life in a much better way. After all, everyone of us definitely want to grow our practices, have even better family/social life, wish to have less stress and more time in life…isn’t it? We also would love to have even better ability to easily handle various problems/situations in our life and better problem solving/decision making ability…don’t you think so?

Great news is that the world famous personality Dale Carnegie was the pioneer in recognizing the tremendous importance of soft skills and he had proved almost 100 years before that soft skills can be ‘acquired’. Yes…it is possible! It is worth it! It would definitely help us in raising our dental practice, reducing the stress, improving our relationships, making us better human beings and thus improving the overall quality and happiness of our lives. It can do wonders in ‘Discovering ourselves’ and finding the ‘missing link’ in your life and ultimately connect you with your desired destiny- The peace of mind or mental satisfaction which we all strive for.

We all therefore must make all the efforts to enhance our soft skills as much as we can. It is the level of soft skill we have would ultimately determine the extent of our success may it be in professional or personal life. This would then lead our way to the desired destiny of ours. One should always remember that

‘Growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional’…Choice is yours!

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