As a Communication Coach I train people in soft skills, both for the office and for their personal life. I can tell you that a lot of my clients are people who have developed their hard skills but not their soft skills. Many of my clients are from accounting/finance, I.T., engineering, etc.
Unfortunately I often meet those who have so much faith in their hard skills and/or their advanced education that it blinds them from realizing that a lack of social skills is keeping them from reaching the next promotion or pay raise. Often when they run into a glass ceiling they are confused, and run out to sign up for the next available certificate program or University class.
I recently came across an article in the November 8 2010 edition of the Canadian Business magazine that compared the benefits of getting work experience first, then an MBA. Here are some interesting quotes from page 25 that rang true for me, based on my experience with many of my clients:
“The survey found execs think that MBA schools are not effective in developing a student’s interpersonal skills”
“MBA’s learn how to work hard” said one respondent. “However they may develop bad habits regarding the ability to communicate effectively, and can bring a degree of arrogance to their chosen profession.”
“…the value of an MBA was considerably more if the student had worked beforehand.”
This does not mean that everyone with an MBA has poor communication skills, but it does highlight a problem that exists, at least in the eyes of some execs and trainers. Be aware of this challenge and if you have focused too much on your hard skills try to find balance with some soft skill training. If you are a manager of someone who you think lacks effective communication skills then please consider finding them some training to help them and help your company be more successful.
(From online article at http://www.canadianbusiness.com )