Learning Soft Skills at Work: An Interview with Annalee Luhman

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Soft skills are attitudes and behaviors displayed in interactions among individuals that affect the outcomes of such encounters. These differ from hard skills, which are the technical knowledge and abilities required to perform specific job-related tasks more formally stated in job descriptions. In the past, it was felt that managers and employees did not need soft skills as long as they could do their work, but now even positions in hard, task-oriented areas such as accounting and information systems require soft skills as well as technical skills. In this article, the authors ask the following questions: (1) How do organizations respond to the interpersonal evolution in the workplace?; (2) How do they measure the need for soft skills?; and (3) How do they design programs that address such needs? To find answers, they conduct an interview with Annalee Luhman, a Learning and Leadership Manager at the Port of Seattle in Washington.



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