A Practical Definition We Can Apply Right Away

Last time I shared the definition of soft skills from the Oxford dictionary, “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.” While I think that provides us with a fairly decent starting point for what soft skills are, I don’t believe it’s quite enough to take action on… At least it’s not for me.

We started down this path by answering the question, What Do They Really Mean by “Soft Skills”.? then we worked through some comparisons of Soft Skills vs Hard Skills. If we combine all of that with what Chris Rollins shared about the origins of the concept, I think we’re ready to build a practical definition that we can each work into our daily routines. Once we have that, there’s no reason at all for not putting it into action and achieving measurable results - just like we’d expect to see from learning any particular technical skill… 

Before we do that,...

Continue Reading...

A Solid Framework to Build On

An article I recently read on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) website titled In Search of Soft Skills: Why you should teach employees to be more resilient, communicative, and creative opened by stating “Being gifted at performing the technical aspects of a job can take an employee only so far. To become a stellar employee or an admired leader requires an arsenal of skills that are harder to measure but critical to success.”

I agree with most of that statement, kinda… To me, the idea of gifted implies that someone is naturally good at something. While we all know a few folks who seem to pick up on certain technical skills faster than the rest of us, I’ve seen far more people who master their craft through an intense amount of dedication and effort. I’m betting that calling those folks gifted and acting like they didn’t work hard to become great at what they do will piss them off! I do, however, agree that mastering the technical...

Continue Reading...

What Do They Mean by “Soft Skills”?

In his Forbes.com article titled Here Are The Top 5 Soft Skills I Look For In Candidates, Mark Pena opens by saying, “In an automating workforce, soft skills are the irreplaceably human element of work - and the thing employers are desperate to find.”

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the idea of soft skills referenced throughout my career, but I’ve rarely heard anyone provide tangible examples of soft skills that I could learn quickly or apply immediately. I’m not suggesting that it’s not possible or never happens, I’m just saying it’s rare… Soft Skills seem to almost always be something that’s ambiguous, or something that you either have or you don’t. I’ve just never been willing to buy into that idea, especially when I hear things like “you get hired for what you know but you get fired for who you are…” (There’s even a Psychology Today article with nearly that exact...

Continue Reading...

Effective Communication Won’t Happen Without This

In order to become really effective with that idea of Alliance Feedback that I referenced as I closed the last post, and form authentic alliances (relationships) with the team members we’re responsible for leading, we need to develop another essential quality of leadership; we need to become intentional about how we listen.

As he describes more around the idea of Alliance Feedback, Jeff Henderson suggests that “we take the time to get to know the person and their aspirations, hopes, and personal standards.” If someone in a leadership role isn’t willing to invest time and energy into doing this, which can often only be done by really listening to what their team members have to say in various situations, it’s unlikely that the relationship will ever be strong enough to form alliances.

Additionally, leaders are nearly always responsible for moving the organization forward. If we’re leading but not willing to listen enough to develop alliances, not...

Continue Reading...

The Difference in Recognition and Appreciation

In the last post, we looked at a few things that will stand out in the behaviors of the more DRIVEN folks when their emotions are running full speed ahead. We also looked at what we may want to consider doing, at least when it’s within our control, in order to ease some of the tension in the situation and help those folks operate in a state they actually enjoy. I wrapped up with a reference to recognizing the tremendous amount of effort they put into nearly everything they touch. That fills their tank, but it doesn’t necessarily fill everyone’s tank…

The next two primary styles have a much heavier focus on the people they’re interacting with than the specific task at hand. We all cherish genuine recognition, but the INSPIRING and SUPPORTIVE behavioral styles would much rather know they’re valued as individuals than just for what they’re accomplishing!

Since the INSPIRING folks, typically making up around 30% of the population, enjoy being...

Continue Reading...

Strong Relationships Build Strong Teams

Once we understand the framework for accurately picking up on the emotions of the person we’re interacting with, by recognizing and understanding their behaviors, we can begin honing the fourth component of emotional intelligence - relationship development.

Let’s be honest, building strong relationships requires quite a bit of intentional effort! That said, I can’t think of a single area of my life where the energy I invested into creating a solid relationship with someone - be that personally, professionally, or a combination of the two - hasn’t ended up yielding far more value than I ever expected.

Consider the best relationships in your life… Did they just happen on their own or was there a good bit of work involved? Most definitely! Were there ever any bumps in the road along the way? I’m sure there was. Who are the people in your life that you have the most loyalty to? I’m guessing it’s the folks you have the strongest...

Continue Reading...

Understanding the World Around Us

In unpacking the first two components of emotional intelligence, self-awareness and self-management, I referenced the research William Marston did almost 100 years ago as he prepared to write The Emotions of Normal People. Before we dive into the third component, I want you to really think about the complexity involved with reading someone’s emotions. Heck, it’s not always all that easy to keep a firm grip on our own! With that in mind, what was Marston focusing on as he conducted that research?

Nearly twenty-five years ago, during the first training session I ever sat through on a new process called “behavior-based safety” that was being rolled out in the manufacturing facility where I worked, I learned the importance of focusing on behaviors rather than attitudes or emotions. We can OBSERVE behaviors; we can’t always see emotions and attitudes unless someone is exhibiting outwardly through their behaviors!

Having shared that quick history lesson,...

Continue Reading...

The WHY Helps Us Take Action

Many of us intuitively recognize where we’re strong and where we have blind spots. Experience can serve as an amazing teacher IF we’re willing to analyze it and we’re willing to take action based on what we learn from analyzing it. The challenge someone who’s as impatient as I tend to be can run into when relying on experience alone for mastering a new skill is that it can take a really long time to have all the experiences we need to build a solid foundation for making great decisions. Even then, just knowing WHAT happened without having a clear understanding of WHY it happened can limit the effectiveness of those decisions.

I recently had a conversation with a client where they explained a situation with one of their employees who had made similar mistakes a few times in a row when completing the same task. While the mistakes weren’t exactly the same, the client felt like the second one should not have happened since they had pointed out the first...

Continue Reading...

The Components of Emotional Intelligence

Since we now have a fairly solid grasp on Why Emotional Intelligence is Important, let’s look at what are considered to be the components of emotional intelligence so we can have some hope of actually being able to develop it within ourselves and within the teams we’re responsible for leading.

Around 2,500 years ago, Socrates said “to know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” I never met the guy personally, but everything I’ve heard points to him being a fairly smart dude… And if emotional intelligence really does account for 58% of performance in all types of jobs, knowing thyself probably is a fairly important thing to have in the mix! When we look at what I’ve seen referenced by multiple sources as the four components of emotional intelligence, the first thing we come to is Self-Awareness. In Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry defines self-awareness as “your ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment...

Continue Reading...

Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?

There’s a section in chapter three of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry titled “The Impact of EQ” that shares some statistical that nearly knocked me out of my chair:

“How much of an impact does EQ have on your professional success? The short answer is: quite a lot! It’s a powerful way to focus your energy in one direction with a tremendous result. We’ve tested EQ alongside 33 other important skills and found that it subsumes the majority of them, including decision-making and communication. Your EQ is the foundation for a host of critical skills - it impacts most everything you say and do each day. EQ is so critical to success that it accounts for 58 percent of performance in all types of jobs.”

I’ve read a few books and numerous articles over the last several years that provide answers to the question Why is Emotional Intelligence Important? When I read something suggesting that emotional intelligence, or EQ, accounts...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5
Close

50% Complete

Let's Talk!

Complete this form and we'll be in touch soon to set up a time to discuss how we can serve you.