The Division of Skills
Is the division of skills into hard and soft categories healthy, or does it hinder our ability to appreciate and develop the full spectrum of human potential?
Instead of embracing the wholeness found in nature’s interconnected living systems, we create divisions in our environment and then actively promote and fight for diversity.
In the business world, we often categorize skills as either hard or soft. This conditioning leads us to believe that hard skills, which we directly apply in our jobs, hold more value. Conversely, we typically regard soft skills, such as empathy and authenticity, as less valuable for various reasons.
Taking a moment to reflect, we should ask ourselves why we divide our skills and abilities into these two distinct categories. Could it be due to financial considerations or a fear of taking risks?
Hard skills, also known as technical skills—such as computer programming, operating machinery, financial management, or project management—are measurable job skills or tasks. We acquire these quantifiable skills through education, training, or on-the-job experience and assess them through exams, reviews, and practical application.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are more subjective, interpersonal abilities that relate to how we interact, communicate, and work with others.
Can’t we simply have skills like communication, data analysis and other abilities that support the mission of our organizations?
Unifying the Division of Skills
Think about how soft skills are mostly invisible, while hard skills are visible and predictable. Can we recognize how this contrast relates to our desire for a sense of security?
The future encompasses the unknown, which might explain why we’ve learned to fear it so much. Could it be time to stop dividing skills and simply appreciate them all?
When will we truly value community building, communication, relationships and collaboration as much as hard skills? And why do we have to divide when we build both in alignment and harmony?
Division serves no one. Whole people and whole organizations are foundational to where we are headed. Division serves no one in a world where we need to be real and whole more than ever. Every skill matters equally.
“The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” Aristotle