Learning “Soft Skills” is Really Hard

Learning “Soft Skills” is Really Hard

Written By Roxi Hewertson, Senior Living SMART Partner

I’ve noticed that adults tend to resist learning or re-learning good interpersonal and social management skills. These involve thinking about relationships, behaviors, and even emotions. This is very different than an impersonal or technical task—and still it is a task—just a human one.

Mastering Leadership Skills is Not Rocket ScienceIt’s a Lot Harder!

This IS hard work. Most of us know that we need to engage and energize employees, build trust, and communicate so that people understand us and know where the organization is going. They want and need to know what part they can play in getting there. We will not get all that good stuff from our people without doing all the hard soft stuff. It’s really that simple.

Mastering leadership skills is not rocket science. It is a lot harder, precisely because it is far more qualitative than quantitative, and because we are leading people, not machines.

Oh No, Not the Touchy-Feely Stuff!

Building trust is one of the key outcomes of mastering interpersonal skills. Try to resist the urge to say, “Oh, no, not the touchy-feely stuff!” Because, really, you can’t get far in life without knowing how to communicate so people understand, how to have tough conversations, or how to transform conflicts into solutions.

While it does take determination, practice, and feedback, nothing is beyond you when you are committed to learning or honing your interpersonal skills. I know I’m not telling you anything new; I’m just reminding you to pay attention and grow your emotional intelligence competencies to improve your effectiveness. When you do this, your teams will thrive, and of course all of this flows directly to your bottom line. What do you do to build relationships with your team so they produce more?

Here are 4 suggestions about where to focus some of your attention:

  • Listen more than you talk
  • Increase staff engagement at every opportunity
  • Make improving your dialogue skills a priority
  • Take or revisit what you learned in a good leadership course

What are some difficulties you encounter when trying to build relationships with your team?

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