The Importance of Soft Skills

(Eric Halsey) #1

”Soft skills, what? I didn’t know people actually could be coached on soft skills.”
-Femi Akinde, CEO of Slimtrader

Soft skills may be difficult to define, but Femi Akinde still realized how essential they are for his business. He came to understand that this set of skills related to emotional intelligence can and must be learned for him to succeed.

##How developing soft skills led Femi to success

“First thing is it’s hard to define soft skills. The best way to say it is how to get along. I think that’s my definition of soft skills. How to get along. I think it’s lost on most people. First of all, most people don’t know you actually can be coached, or it’s actually a discipline, or you can learn what soft skills are.”
-Femi Akinde, CEO of Slimtrader

Femi learned about soft skills as people asked him questions. Questions that made him understand the limitations of his background as an engineer. Over time, Femi came to define soft skills broadly as the ability to get along with people.

“The best way to win an argument is to get someone to make your argument for you. I didn’t know that before business school. That was a revelation to me. How do you get someone to make your argument for you? You ask questions leading up to it. You see now? There’s a lot of depth to this soft skills thing, right? It literally can be the difference between getting a deal done, or not getting a deal done.”
-Femi Akinde, CEO of Slimtrader

As an engineer, this new set of skills benefitted him a lot. According to Femi, you have to identify your weakness and find the solution to the weakness. He concludes that you do not have to acquire such knowledge from a business school and explains that he preferred acquiring knowledge in a classroom.

”For engineer, this was good for me. You don’t necessarily have to go to business school to learn what I learned, I believe you can. You have to identify your weakness, and seek a solution to your weakness. What I did, my going to business school was I identified what I didn’t know, and I found a way to get that knowledge. I felt more comfortable getting it within the four walls of a prestigious institution. You can go into training at a major corporation and get the same knowledge, or you could read it off the web, but that was what I felt comfortable doing.”
-Femi Akinde, CEO of Slimtrader