Leadership for Life – Soft Skills

By on December 16, 2013
Leadership for Life - Soft Skills

Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.

Some years ago, when I was a trainer working at a regional bank company, my specialty was “soft skills.” This training area was carefully separated from technical and compliance training. That made sense to me, since I was not then, nor was I ever, a banker. My specialty area included things like coaching and management skills, customer service skills, conflict resolution, etc. At the time (mid-nineties), the so-called soft skills took a back seat to the “real” training the bankers needed, and the people in my group took severe blows to their self esteem.

Nowadays, soft skills have made a comeback. Lots of literature in the business and training press now supports the idea that managers, supervisors, and leaders of all stripes have to be skilled in communication skills, helping people to manage change, coaching people to improve their job performance, etc. Thank goodness! Now trainers can make a living again, and incidentally, businesses can thrive because their employees know how to communicate with and get along with people both inside and outside the organization.

Good communication skills help people inside organizations to exchange information effectively and in a timely manner, so decisions can be made rationally. Being able to communicate well also means that customers get served with excellence, which means they return to do more business, and (hopefully) tell all their friends about how great you are.

Effective leaders know that training of any sort needs to begin at the top. First line supervisors and middle managers will see the value of training, especially soft skills training, if the higher level leaders get the training first. When the senior leaders start “slinging the lingo,” people further down the leadership totem pole get the message that “these guys really mean it this time,” and they take the training seriously.

You can’t overestimate the value of clear support from the top for training of any type, especially the soft skills, which too often are dismissed by busy people as “all that touchy-feely stuff.”

With many years of experience in “touch-feely stuff,” I invite you to call (314-539-5329) or write (bschapiro@stlcc.edu) for more information on what the Workforce Solutions Group has to offer.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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