Blog: The Ethical Workplace
April 26th, 2010
Banish Soft Skills at Work
It’s misleading and counterproductive, making the underlying skills sound as if they are pointless, wasteful frills. Yet, any respected leader will tell you it’s the “soft skills” that distinguish effective leaders from outstanding operational producers or, at the management level, distrusted tyrants.
Check any of the online dictionaries, and you’ll find that the term soft skills refers to attributes that relate to or encourage trust, communication, teamwork, safety, inclusion and productivity, as well as the prompt airing of serious problems. Leaders need these qualities to engage employees and obtain the most efficient results. In the process, they also limit operational, safety, legal and other similar catastrophes. And maximizing results while minimizing distractions and hazards is the most frequently voiced concern of the executives with whom I’ve most recently met and read about.
Without soft skills, organizations can suffer an array of crippling consequences:
• Physicians who so distract and intimidate team members that avoidable fatalities and complications sometime occur.
• Military officers whose units suffer from a lack of cohesion and morale.
• Businesspeople who are afraid to report financial irregularities for fear of losing their jobs.
• Team members who put in time rather than effort, knowing their efforts are not appreciated by their leaders and the organization.
• Hazards unreported at work or in products released to the public by those aware of the defects but afraid to raise concerns.
Now check the dictionary for the term “soft.” Here are definitions you will find:
• Gentle or mild.
• Smooth, soothing or ingratiating.
• Sentimental or flowery.
• Informal, easy, involving little effort; not difficult, laborious, trying or severe.