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Ever since my time at London Business School, I’ve felt that we all too undervalue effective communication skills at work (and in our private lives too, of course).

At LBS, one of the key concepts on the Operations Management course was that of ‘order qualifiers’ versus ‘order winners’: the difference between the things that get you, your product or service on to the ‘pitch list’, and the ones that actually get you the business.

Business schools and corporates pride themselves on teaching or having the hard skills to get the job done, but so often these technical skills (creating a business plan, understanding intellectual property issues, pricing a bond option) are actually only ‘order qualifiers’. They get you through the door, but everyone else standing in line for the business can also demonstrate those same skills. All MBAs have a business degree – but not all of them find jobs easily, and that has to have something to do with who they are, whether they are liked, whether they will fit in.

So the truth is that where business is actually won and lost, and jobs gained, is often through the successful application of the ‘softer’ interpersonal skills that can get overlooked in the cut and thrust of corporate life.

Over the years, I’ve collected quite a bit of data to back this up. So it was good to come across a new study, by LinkedIn, according to which “57% of leaders say soft skills are more important than hard skills—even leaders from tech companies agree, like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Google’s Eric Schmidt.” Of these, the 4 most in-demand soft skills are: leadership, communication, collaboration and time management.

To read a little more about the study, go to https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/trends-and-research/2018/the-most-in-demand-hard-and-soft-skills-of-2018