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 Definition of Soft Skills that Matters for YOU!

In early 2019, I received a phone call from a friend asking if I had a few minutes for him to run an idea by me. Since Chris Rollins had done as much to train and mentor me as anyone else I could think of in the four years leading up to that point, I jumped at the chance to provide him with any input I possibly could!

I felt a connection with Chris from our first conversation in 2015. We had similar experiences during our corporate careers and both of us really wanted to have an impact on the organizational cultures of the smaller businesses we were working with. And both of us understood just how important effective communication is to building a strong team that achieves great results.

The idea Chris wanted to bounce off of me was a concept of a collaborative book on the DISC Model of Human Behavior, one of the most powerful tools I ever seen for building effective communication into a company’s culture. Having worked through dozens of hours of training with Chris on the...

Continue Reading...

What Skills Matter Most?

Alexandra Levit, workforce futurist and author of Humanity Works: Merging Technologies and People for the Workplace of the Future, was quoted in a recent SHRM article as saying “While most people are hired for their technical abilities, their soft skills give them career durability.”

In the last post, I challenged what I’ve seen to the traditional thought process of expecting a tangible return on investment from technical training while having far less clarity on how the rubber should meet the road after any type of training on those perceived softer skills. To me, it just boils down to developing the discipline to know what to look for and clarifying how those powerful skills should be applied.

Let me be very clear here: BOTH types of skills matter in every industry. But answering the question What Skills Matter Most? really depends on the specific role we’re hoping to fill. 

Our son, Matt, has an outstanding work ethic and caught onto the technical...

Continue Reading...

Soft Skills vs Hard Skills

Now that we can answer What Do They Mean by “Soft Skills”?, let’s start building a comparison between Soft Skills and Hard Skills, the impact both types of skills can have in nearly any role, and then we’ll look at how we can ensure any skill development we invest in provides us with a tangible return.

I believe one of the main reasons so many individuals and organizations struggle to tie tangible return on investment is that we rarely even see an accurate comparison. An article I read on Forbes.com recently titled Are Hard Skills or Soft Skills More Important to be an Effective Leader? shared this:

Hard skills are teachable and most often technical skills, such as economic analysis, strategic planning or design. Soft skills fall in the interpersonal realm and include listening, team-building, and leadership development. They are not so much taught as cultivated. 

While that sounds reasonable at face value, I’m going to challenge you to think into...

Continue Reading...

All Work and No Play?

When Cindy and I work with teams on building stronger and more effective communication into their cultures, The Model of Human Behavior is one of the tools we share because it provides a simple and extremely practical approach that can be implemented right away. As we do this, we emphasize that our team members often do the exact same things but for VERY different reasons depending on their own unique behavioral style. Cindy goes on to explain that I, as one of those highly DRIVEN folks I mentioned last time, serve the people I care about by working as hard as I possibly can to achieve results. While my focus is primarily on the task at hand, I’m doing it to provide for my family or my team…

Here’s the thing: I’m in the small minority of the population that actually enjoys working! Accomplishing things and checking tasks off my list fills my tank. And praise God everyone you deal with isn’t like me, right! (For many reasons…) Seriously though,...

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 Single Most Important Ingredient

I truly believe that one of the most essential qualities of leadership is serving the team we’re leading. Unfortunately, the idea of serving those team members is often mistaken for catering to those team members, which doesn’t serve anyone!

As we worked through that quality of service in the last post, I closed by sharing that some of the most effective servant leaders I’ve ever known weren’t willing to accept mediocre performance; they certainly certainly weren’t ones who catered to each passing whim any of the team members came up with. In fact, the leaders I’m picturing as I share this had some of the highest expectations for their team of anyone I’ve ever been around. And because they led by providing a consistent example, their teams delivered on those expectations!

Here’s where I need to stress a critical point… Those expectations weren’t met simply because the leader demanded that level of performance. Those...

Continue Reading...

Special Attention to ALL the Details

In Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry says “People who manage relationships well are able to see the benefit of connecting with many different people, even those they are not fond of. Solid relationships are something that should be sought and cherished.”

While I’ve only been aggressively studying emotional intelligence and William Marston’s work on The Model of Human Behavior for the last six years or so, I’ve intuitively understood the value solid relationships have in achieving results. I often share that I’ve never really felt like I had any real natural talent in a specific area. But realizing that communication skills could be developed and that building better relationships played a big role in that, coupled with what I have always believed to be a strong work ethic, has helped me in more ways that I could begin to hash out here. And that’s definitely not something that’s exclusive to me!

With all that in mind,...

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...

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

In Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry defines the last component of emotional intelligence that we looked at, relationship management, as “your ability to use your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully.” As I’ve suggested several times up to this point, this is often fairly intuitive for most of us. But what about the times where it’s not as obvious? What if there were a framework we could apply that would make this simpler in nearly every situation?

The awareness Bradberry refers to can make a huge difference in communicating effectively and developing strong relationships. This matters so much in workplace scenarios that Cindy and I built an entire lesson into our Emerging Leader Development course to provide participants with tools they can use to do this more effectively right away. When we’re able to tailor that course and deliver it in person for organizations, we offer the option to build...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5 6
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.