I've written about this before.
It's a bad name, because it implies a lack of strength or importance relative to "hard skills." Everyone knows you need certain hard skills to get each job, but you need so-called "soft skills" to get just about any job.
I can think of many situations I have been in that were caused be a lack of soft skills.
But people associate "soft" with "feminine," and of course we all think negative things about femininity.
I truly believe soft skills are going to make all the difference in the next stage of adult education. They are, however, hard to measure and quantify.
Before we can measure them, though, we need to give them a different name.
I asked friends, and one mentioned "finesse." I like this, but I think it connotes a bit more... slickness than I want?
I looked up synonyms, and you see things like "common sense." But I want a word that's used elsewhere (like "soft") that can be applied here. You know what I chose because of the title of this post.
If "hard skills" connote strength and force, then what I am looking for is the flexibility and pliability needed to relate to people. "People skills" is fine as a term, but "agility" carries everything I am looking for, and is something to which we can aspire.
Will I use it in my future research? No idea. But it's a start.