Something that always makes me wince is the term “soft skills”. gives the following definition of soft:

yielding readily to touch or pressure; easily penetrated, divided, or changed in shape; not hard or stiff:

However, when many people talk of “soft skills”, I get the impression they find little substance or feel they are not well defined.  For some, it implies a lack of importance and are almost dismissive of the “soft skills”.

I find them to be the most critical skills.  A friend of mine, Curtis Michelson, put it best when he said:

“facilitation, communication, listening, negotiating, writing, visualizing, and other relational oriented skills.  Simply how to make friends across various facets of a business, building your network, is a big deal, and a ticket up a floor.”

Add self awareness, balance, empathy (yes, it’s a skill), leadership modeling, story telling (an ancient leadership skill), teaching and continuous personal improvement to that list and another label comes to mind: deep skills.

These are the skills that help you go deeper in your profession; deeper in your leadership; deeper in establishing your personal brand; deeper

So let’s stop calling them soft skills and call them what they are: deep skills

Disagree?  Or see some that I missed?  Please let me know in the comments or social media.