Issue #35
#35 - "Who you callin' SOFT"? -- Squishy Skills Get A Much-Needed Rebrand
September 16, 2022

What's up, everybody?

Is it just us, or do the skills we've always labeled "soft" deserve a serious rebrand?

After all, they've become hard requirements: critical to success, impactful to teams and businesses -- and deeply in-demand.

So today we use the bullets of this issue to look at:

* The 10 soft smart skills for managing the main source of complexity at work (spoiler alert: it's the people 🙃)

* Why corporations are demanding less technical skills than ever before -- of their C-suite hires

* The documented impact of good old-fashioned kindness on leadership, burnout, and business performance

It's a full-on...embrace of skills that have never felt less squishy. 🙌🏻

Thanks for reading -- and have a great week!

Aki & Usman


#SmartSkills #NotJustForLeaders

Loredana Padurean is a professor at MIT, and in her new book, "The Job Is Easy, The People Are Not", she argues that it's the people at work that make it so complex. She identifies the 10 skills required to reduce this complexity, and labels them not as soft, but as "smart".

It's a shift of language that we are wayyyy here for.

Click through for the full read, but here's the list of Padurean's smart skills:


#SmartSkills #Leadership

Executive search firm Russell Reynolds gave the Harvard Business Review access to 5,000 job descriptions it had gathered between 2000 and 2017. The result is this graph, showing the explosion of C-level job descriptions that emphasize social skills over more technical ones. (Mind you, this was all before the pandemic; we reckon the trend has become even more pronounced, since.)


#SmartSkills #Wellness #Kindness

We use our last bullet to look at an especially tricky trait: kindness. Tricky because in a corporate setting, a phrase like "exuding kindness" can make even the most empathetic among us squirm a bit. And yet, Drs. Schabram and Yu find that acts of kindness and compassion -- towards others, and towards ourselves -- lead to reduced burnout, and to real and sustainable business ROI.

Now, neither of us have a PhD....but that does sound pretty darn smart. 🧐

Thanks for reading. 🙏🏻

Work moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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