Soft skills – Can these be taught?
Whilst listening to the radio, a conversation subject piqued my interest - ‘soft skills’.
A question was being discussed, “can soft skills be taught?”
I immediately thought:
“How do we ensure our people are equipped with soft skills in our businesses?”
And to drill down further, “Which soft skills make us effective?”
I recall someone saying, “I can teach anyone how to do their job, but I can’t teach them their attitude.”
Are we confused?
Do you believe you can alter someone’s attitude?
When I think of the books that line the shelves in airports, catching us when we are at our most vulnerable, we are inclined to buy a ‘how to skill up book’:
· How to tell better stories
· How to be less of a perfectionist
· How to run a 20-minute meeting
These are all super books and I’m sure if you practise what’s shared on the plenty of informative pages, you’ll be more effective. Right?!
Or, are we talking about Professional Skills? Differentiating from the say, technical skills?
This ‘soft’ business doesn’t cut it with me. Where is the soft in having a conversation with a person who has a personality which challenges the other members of the team, threatening their collective self-worth?
Here’s my bucket list of ‘professional skills’:
o Listening & Hearing
o Feedback – positive and constructive
o Emotional Intelligence
o Civility – etiquette, protocol, acumen
o Communication – in particular conversational skills
o Critical Thinking
o Problem solving
o Time Management
o Problem Solving
o And, Civility – yep good old manners!
What have I missed? (C’mon, add yours to this list!)
And, are these important in your role and your workplace?
How did you learn them? And, how did the people around you learn these skills?
In the work I do, I see these skills as the enablers of great relationships. And, in ‘broken relationships’ the diagnosis is generally a lack understanding of what’s important for the other person/people.
In a world which is disrupted by super smart people, how important are these skills?
Which one would make a difference in your workplace?
Or, around your executive leadership team table?
Or, maybe your boardroom table?
It doesn’t matter what your role is, how junior or senior, you can generally find a professional soft people focused skill to brush up on or learn.
And let me know how you go or better still, get me involved to make the learning happen.