For other uses, see Skill (disambiguation).
"Mastery" redirects here. For other uses, see Mastery (disambiguation).

A skill is the ability to carry out a task with pre-determined results often within a given amount of time, energy, or both.[1] Skills can often be divided into domain general and domain-specific skills. For example, in the domain of work, some general skills would include time management, teamwork and leadership, self-motivation and others, whereas domain-specific skills would be useful only for a certain job. Skill usually requires certain environmental stimuli and situations to assess the level of skill being shown and used.

People need a broad range of skills in order to contribute to a modern economy. A joint ASTD and U.S. Department of Labor study showed that through technology, the workplace is changing, and identified 16 basic skills that employees must have to be able to change with it.[2]

Labor skills

Main article: Skill (labor)

Skilled workers have long had historical import (see Division of labor) as electricians, masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, bakers, brewers, coopers, printers and other occupations that are economically productive. Skilled workers were often politically active through their craft guilds.[3]

Life skills

Main article: Life skills

Life skills are problem-solving behaviors that are used appropriately and responsibly in the management of personal affairs. They are a set of human skills, acquired via learning (teaching) or direct experience, that are used to handle problems and questions commonly encountered in daily human life. The subject varies greatly depending on societal norms and community expectations.

People skills

Main article: People skills

According to the Portland Business Journal, people skills are described as:[4]

A British definition is “the ability to communicate effectively with people in a friendly way, especially in business.”[5] The term is not listed yet in major US dictionaries.[6][7]

The term people skills is used to include both psychological skills and social skills, but is less inclusive than life skills.

Social skills

Main article: Social skills

Social skill is any skill facilitating interaction and communication with others. Social rules and relations are created, communicated, and changed in verbal and nonverbal ways. The process of learning such skills is called socialization.

Soft skills

Main article: Soft skills

Soft skills are a combination of interpersonal people skills, social skills, communication skills, character traits, attitudes, career attributes and emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) among others. In short Soft Skills is an umbrella term for right combination of People skills, Social skills and Personal career attributes in relation to industries.[8]

Hard skills

Hard skills are any skills relating to a specific task or situation. These skills are easily quantifiable unlike soft skills which are related to one's personality.[9]

Mastering skills

Mastery pertains to perfecting a particular skill set. To reach mastery, authors Malcolm Gladwell and Robert Greene claim that 10,000 hours of work will have to be put into training.[10]

Human Potential approach to Skills

Human Potential approach to skills regards the contribution of skills to Personal Development in a broad perspective. This approach derives primarily from the "Person Centered Approach" developed by Carl Rogers, American psychologist and among the founders of the humanistic approach (or client-centered approach) to human development. The aim of a Human Potential approach to skills development is to support the process of becoming fully functioning individuals, developing personal potential in any field (sports, arts, relations, science, and others), including emotional skills. According to Rogers this process "involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one's potentialities. It involves the courage to be. It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life". (Rogers 1961).[11]

See also


  1. Howland, J.L. (2013). Facts101: Textbook Key Facts. Contents Technologies Inc.". Retrieved 2015-10-03. This tertiary source summarizes another source in low detail.
  2. ASTD and U.S. Department of Labor study -Retraining 50 Million Americans: The Electronically Mediated Solution". Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  3. Cowan, Ruth Schwartz (1997), A Social History of American Technology, New York: Oxford University Press, p. 179, ISBN 0-19-504605-6
  4. Rifkin, H. “Invest in people skills to boost bottom line” Retrieved on 2009-10-14
  5. “Macmillan Dictionary” Retrieved on 2009-08-18
  6. definition. Retrieved on 2009-08-18
  7. Encarta dictionary definition. Retrieved on 2009-08-18
  8. Marcel M. Robles, Executive Perceptions of the Top 10 Soft Skills Needed in Today’s Workplace, Business Communication Quarterly, 75(4) 453–465.
  10. Robert Greene (American author)#Mastery
  11. Rogers, Carl (1961). On becoming a person: A therapist's view of psychotherapy. London: Constable. ISBN 1-84529-057-7.

External links

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