Lucy Kellaway’s dictionary of business jargon and corporate nonsense
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Translation into plain English Skills or personality

Lucy’s commentary The very idea of a skillset (or skill set - no one seems able to decide whether it is one or two words) is a relatively recent one. It started to appear in the dry writings of academics in psychology journals in the 1970s, but migrated to management literature in the 1980s - and is now everywhere. There is hardly a LinkedIn profile that doesn't have a skillset in it. Yet in real life skills do not come in sets. They aren't like a train set, which consists of tracks, engines, carriages, stations, signals, junctions, bridges and tunnels that all fit together nicely. Instead, the skillset of leader is a miscellaneous collection of things that are not skills at all, but a mishmash of experience and aspects of personality. Trading derivatives is a skill. Charisma is not. It is a personality trait. The word skillset is almost always used about jobs for which there is little agreement on the abilities required to do them. Engineers and electricians are deemed to have skills; managers and leaders to have skillsets.

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