On April 23, 1910 in Paris, Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech called Citizenship in a Republic. In full disclosure, I’ve never read or heard the entire thing (but that may no longer be true by the time you’re reading this). However, that speech is where one of my favorite quotes of all time - commonly referred to as “The Man in the Arena” - was first shared:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
T.R. was a powerful character in many ways, but did you know he said this about the importance of soft skills? “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”
The bulk of the last blog was geared at painting a picture at how tangible the impact of soft skills really is once you have a solid understanding of everything that’s truly impacted, with hopes of providing a foundation for WHY developing soft skills within your team is so critical. I closed by promising this message would dig into HOW we can provide this type of development for our team members and WHAT kind of results we should be able to expect from those team members as we provide them with those tools.
As much as I’d love for it to be so, I have yet to find a one-size-fits-all option that provides every individual with the exact tools they need for developing their soft skills. That said, all of us have to communicate with others on a regular basis so Roosevelt’s statement about getting along with others might just be spot-on! From that standpoint, developing a solid understanding of how to apply the DISC Model of Human Behavior may be as close to a one-size-fits-all approach as I’ve seen… But depending on the level of responsibility any given team member has for interacting with others and leading teams of their own, the additional tools can vary significantly!
Just this morning, I talked with a department manager with one of our clients who’s entire team interfaces with their customers. We discussed some options for providing his team members with some tools they could access on their own to set a foundation in place before he and I circled back with them as a group to lead intentional discussion on how they can each begin applying the concepts covered in those digital lessons.
All said, that approach can be as different as the individuals you’re working with - and it should be! We all have different experiences that cause us to view things in different ways… The one thing I believe that should always be a constant is that you should be seeing measurable change as a direct result of developing your team members’ soft skills! Not only should this impact employee AND customer retention, we should also see an immediate impact on productivity and profitability.
Several years ago, a study conducted by Salesforce.com showed that 86% of the executive surveyed listed lack of collaboration and ineffective communication as the primary reasons for workplace failure. I’ve seen other studies suggest that organizations lose as much as 17 hours of productivity per employee per week due to miscommunication. If either study is even half right, developing soft skills throughout our teams should pay for itself many times over!
One option that may be worth considering, if you’re not already, is participating in the 2020 LIVE2LEAD:Harrisonburg in one way or another. Whether it’s through one of the virtual events we’ll be hosting, the Executive Summit public event on Oct 23, or by working with us to schedule a private event for your entire team, you’ll get access to exclusive material from some world class leaders. And everyone who participates in any of our 2020 LIVE2LEAD:Harrisonburg events will also receive complimentary access to one of our newest digital courses, Build a Reputation as a Servant Leader.
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