News at Smith

Five Critical, But Overlooked, Soft Skills

Nov 11, 2015


SMITH BRAIN TRUST -- A high IQ can get you a job. “However, a lot of smart people are not successful because they lack soft skills,” says management professor Jeffrey Kudisch, assistant dean of corporate relations and managing director of the Office of Career Services at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. In a new Investopedia article, Kudisch categorizes and describes five key soft skills as quotients:

1. Emotional Intelligence: This quotient involves self-awareness and emotional control, extraordinarily listening and empathy. Individuals with a high level of emotional intelligence understand their strengths and weaknesses, and they try to understand why others act and feel the way they do.  “The majority of the employers that I work with say they would love to have a college graduate with a 4.0 GPA, but would rather have someone with a 3.6 GPA, who has the ability to collaborate with others,” Kudisch says.

2. Passion: “Companies are looking for employees committed to intellectual curiosity, people who want to make an impact, and aren’t just there to pass the time for eight hours, says Kudisch. Deloitte, for example, dedicates a research to creating passionate workers and recommends recruiting these types of employees as opposed to hiring applicants based on specific job skills.

3. Cultural Intelligence: Companies in the global marketplace look for employees who can adapt and respond to different cultures, Kudisch says, and subsequently “you may obtain your degree in Maryland, but end up working in Tennessee or even in China.”

4. Courage: The employee’s ability to disclose vulnerabilities and weaknesses, and take calculated risks helps companies grow and innovate, Kudisch says. “Companies want employees who have the willingness and bravery to make tough calls, defend their position when challenged, and also ask for help because they realize that they don’t know everything.”

5. Improvisation:  Though employers publish job descriptions, policies and procedures, companies value employees who can think on their feet, are open to innovation, and embrace new ideas, says Kudisch. “In a changing marketplace, there is so much disruption, so someone who realizes that their job may change and is able to improvise has a much greater chance of being successful."



About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.