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  • drdianehamilton 4:33 am on March 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amy Cuddy, , , , Soft Skills, ,   

    How to Develop Top Soft Skills Not Learned at School or Work 

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    Job listings often describe the skills needed to perform in a position. However, many of the skills required for success fall under the category of soft skills.  Many employees may be hired for their knowledge and yet may end up being fired for their behavior or lack of social skills.  Forbes reported that 46% of newly hired employees will fail within 18 months.  Mitchell Communications Group found that companies lose $37 billion a year in the United States due to miscommunication.  Research from Adecco Staffing considered what the C-suite thinks about the type of skills employees lack. They found that the C-suite believed 44% lacked soft skills including communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration.  This has led to missed growth opportunity, low productivity, and reduced profits.

    The good news is that we can improve these social or soft skills.  The first step is realizing that there is always room for improvement. It can help to observe others who have strong skills that may need development.  To determine areas that may need improvement, start by considering some questions.

    • Do you listen more than you speak?
    • What verbal and non-verbal cues do others receive from you?
    • Do teams on which you serve have personality conflict issues?
    • Do recognize your emotions as well as those in others?
    • Are you adaptable to change?
    • Do you find problem-solving and decision-making difficult?
    • Do you manage your time well?
    • Are you motivated to go above and beyond at work?
    • Do you rush to judgment before knowing the facts?
    • Do you seek an inordinate amount of attention for your accomplishments?
    • Do you recognize your weaknesses and are you willing to work on them?
    • Do you become upset easily if things do not go your way?
    • Do you blame others when things do not go your way?
    • Do you remain calm in difficult situations?
    • Do you apologize directly if you hurt someone’s feelings?

    It may be critical for people to develop empathy by considering how they would feel in another person’s position.  When making decisions, consider how those decisions will impact others.  Most of the issues that employers deal with are communication-based.  Once you can recognize your own emotions and empathize with how others feel as well, that is a big step to building emotional intelligence.  Emotional intelligence and emotional commitment to one’s job (aka engagement) are two important pieces of the employee success puzzle.

    There are two fascinating TED talks that may help.  Amy Cuddy’s talk “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” and Susan Cain’s The Power of Introverts may provide some insight regarding how to truly know your strengths and weaknesses and learn to embrace them.  Personality and preferences play a big role in how we interact at work.  It is important not to under-estimate the impact of interpersonal skills.  Rather than waiting for schools or employers to help, individuals can learn a lot from:

    • Read more about emotional intelligence, listening, problem-solving, teamwork, collaboration, adaptability, persuasive techniques, and conflict resolution.
    • Watch TED talks like the ones listed above and others that touch on these important topics.
    • Find a mentor who embodies the skills that require development.
    • Volunteer to help others and learn important lessons about being humble.

    As with any learning, it takes time to develop soft skills. The U.S. Department of Labor created a great workforce readiness soft skills training downloadable PDF for youth ages 14-21. Although that is intended for young adults, older workers could benefit from many of the activities as well.

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  • drdianehamilton 7:57 am on February 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Interpersonal Skills, Listening, Negotiation, , Problem-solving, , Soft Skills   

    Soft Skills: Critical to Employee Success 

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    Attend any leadership conference, and someone likely will bring up startling statistics regarding how employees and leaders lack something they refer to as soft skills. This term is used to describe many qualities that include interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and other personality-based issues. The problem that many organizations have experienced is that people are hired for their hard skills, or in other words, for what they know (knowledge). Then later, are often fired for their lack of soft skills, or what they do (behaviors). If employers recognize the importance of soft skills, they can avoid costly hiring and training mistakes, improve turnover, and boost productivity.

    Most leaders do not think graduates have the soft skills that businesses require for success, and 75% of newly hired executives have difficulty with these core competencies. Soft skills are critical for interpersonal relationships and communication. One important reason to develop these skills is that most employees do not quit because of companies; they quit because of leaders. Stress from working with leaders who have poor soft skills costs American companies $360 billion a year.

    Some of the most problematic areas for employees and leaders include difficulty with listening, communication, team-building, listening, negotiating, problem-solving, decision-making, time management, motivation, and emotional intelligence, which includes interpersonal skills. The Millennial generation often gets bad press for having less-than-stellar soft skills including lack of patience. The use of too much technology may cause a breakdown in interpersonal relationships. Instead of interacting before meetings, many individuals embrace their cell phones. This lack of interaction has led to issues with listening and poor two-way communication.

    The good news is that individuals can improve their soft skills. Authors like Daniel Goleman have found that emotional intelligence, which includes things like interpersonal skills and empathy, can be developed. Having a baseline measurement of emotional intelligence levels may be an important part of monitoring improvements. Seeking a mentor may be helpful as well; it is important that employees and leaders are open to feedback. It is important for individuals to consider ways to overcome their personal weaknesses and threats. Identifying the problem is only the beginning; having a plan to improve with measurable goals may be critical.

    Employers face a financial burden if employees do not have proper soft-skill development. With the increase on reliance on technology, some basic interpersonal relationship skills may not have developed well. Employers can help employees and leaders develop these important skills through training programs and education. The first step is to realize there is a problem; only then can individuals set measurable goals to improve.

    To receive updates regarding interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, engagement, and tips for working on generational conflict, please feel free to sign up for: Updates

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