Economic Opportunities With Soft Skills

leadership mindset Jan 30, 2023

In your leadership journey have hard skills or soft skills been proposed as more useful to your success as a leader? 

Many leaders would respond that hard skills are a given because they are the skills “seen and measured.”  Hard skills are represented by specific responsibilities, projects, and initiatives.  Hard skills align titles, positions, and roles. Hard skills are vital.  Yet, there is a shift occurring in the ever-changing and growing pace of society. 

Hard skills, while valuable, are declining in predicting labor-market wage success while the economic importance of soft skills has increased.

Continuing research across our globe indicates that closing the gap in soft skill development advances individual, team, and organizational productivity. 

How are these two types of skills defined?


  1. Hard skills are demonstrated through technical expertise with clearly measured goals and action plans.  
  2. Hard skills are reflected in the effective utilization of knowledge acquisition 
  3. Hard skills are vital to the success of a leader’s career. 
  4. Hard skills are the “knowing


  1. Soft skills emphasize the transformation of people with changes that make a difference in people’s lives.
  2. Soft skills are reflected in meaningful relationships
  3. Soft skills are vital for the significance of a leader’s journey! 
  4. Soft skills are “the living”

My own lived experience has taught me that soft skill development is not as much about the WHAT but the HOW in leadership. Balancing the What and the HOW supports questions from a leader who is attaining desired goals AND empowering changes in people’s lives. I call this balance the significance framework: 

Hard skills + Soft skills = Significance  

David Deming, Harvard professor, economist, and premier analyst in skill development uncovers similar concepts of the WHAT and HOW in skill development.  He shares two uniquely powerful ideas in his work on the balance of hard and soft skills.  

Knowledge + Network/Relationships = Opportunity  

Habits of mind + habits of associating with people = human flourishing

There is no doubt that hard skills are necessary for advancing a professional career trajectory forward. What happens when soft skills and hard skills are combined leads to transformative work output and people development.  


From my own experience when these values are combined a new level of the delivery of excellence is forged: 


  • Individual and team productivity goes up 
  • Overall business performance improves
  • Personal growth and development become a part of the experience between team members as trust builds
  • With a focus on strengths, the consistent delivery of excellence compounds.  


Schedule a brief 15-minute conversation and let’s discuss the obstacles that are keeping you from your growth goals. I look forward to the opportunity to support you on your leadership journey. 


Join me on the Art of Leadership this month’s podcast for a focus on the economic opportunities with soft skills.  

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