A skill is the ability to carry out a task with pre-determined results often within a given amount of time, energy, or both. 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.
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.
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.
According to the Portland Business Journal, people skills are described as:
A British definition is “the ability to communicate effectively with people in a friendly way, especially in business.” The term is not listed yet in major US dictionaries.
The term people skills is used to include both psychological skills and social skills, but is less inclusive than life 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 are a combination of interpersonal people skills, social skills, communication skills, character traits, attitudes, career attributes and emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) among others.
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.