We are living in an age of the Machines (I don’t mean to say that cars transform themselves into monsters and attack humans on their will!). For all that the machines have given us, they come with their own set of downsides, the most discussed of which is that they have replaced manpower at work, giving rise to unemployment. But I have a different take on this. I believe that rather than replacing humans, it is the soft skills that the machines have replaced. People’s ‘hustle’ to find a solution to a problem and the analytical skills it developed in turn has been overshadowed due to easy availability of answers on online search engines and other machines.

In the 1980s, when the machines were first making their presence felt across the industries, humans had an upper hand due to their soft skills and ability to go deeper into the problem rather than just give a copy book solution. Unfortunately, exhibition of soft skills is on a decline, resulting into a dominance of machines and degrading levels of creativity across the organizations.

Who is to blame for absence of soft skills?

The decline of soft skills can be attributed as much to the executive’s unwillingness to go beyond the solution as to the organizations’ focus on technical skills of the candidates they are hiring, giving minimal significance to the soft skills. One of the reasons behind the organizations focusing on technical skills only is that they consider machines to be more accurate and efficient as compared to the humans, which is a proven fact. However, you can’t expect the machines to interact with other people and form relations with other organizations. Nor can be machines analyze the problems and come out with the reasons for its recurrence. These skills assume all the more significance when talking about leaders who need to inspire their team, mend their feedback as per the person and show their weak human side every once in a while.

Where to begin the search for soft skills?

None of these points actually advise the companies to go back in time and dump all the machines. Machines and the technical prowess of the employees have their own significance in the operations of the company, but so do the soft skills.

Soft skills are a misnomer, considering that acquiring them can be very hard at times. Nor can those dear machines imbibe these skills in executives. Acquiring these skills can be a long and ardours task which needs to be kick started at this very moment. One of the best strategies to begin this can be to lead by example as a leader. Also, you can zero in on the positions which require the holder to have a certain level of soft skills in order to do justice to that position and then recruit accordingly.

The human potential is still underutilized for most the part. If the companies can actually make complete use of the human resource that they have, there won’t be any stopping them.