Soft skills are amongst the most important skills you can possess.
Soft skills… Why are they called ‘soft’ skills when they are so darned hard to learn? And when they have an impact on business that is anything but fluffy?
I’ve been teaching soft skills for a long time. Back in the day they were looked upon as fluffy and froufrou (yes, I’ve had people say those exact words to me) and completely unnecessary. Yet, I’ve always felt they were crucial for attracting and retaining employees and customers and for achieving peak productivity. In the past, I disguised this content in courses called Interpersonal Skills or Essentials of Business Communication. But no more! The World Economic Forum, as well as pretty much any business guru out there, has identified soft skills as crucial for the future of business. So, here I am—bringing these ‘fluffy’ skills to the hard skills world of The Trades.
In the past, when I’ve trained techs, they’ve told me they’d far rather be “turning a wrench” than sitting in a classroom. They choose the work they do because it requires being good with machinery, and not so much good with people. Even so, technicians and those who lead them work with people every, single day—their colleagues, bosses, reports, and, of course, their customers. Therefore, these so-called fluffy skills are actually pretty crucial to doing good work and getting good results. And this sort of training is crucial for them to become the most qualified and successful employees they can be.
‘Soft skills’ is kind of a catch-all term for what really boils down to communication and inter-relation with people. It includes communication and customer service skills, but also encompasses strategic work like problem-solving, delegation, negotiation, performance management, and productivity. When you think of how important each of these areas is to the successful operation of a business, there’s no doubt that soft skills are amongst the most important skills you can possess.
In our current business environment, it’s hard to attract and retain the right employees. Workplaces everywhere are crying out for qualified people. Yet some companies never seem to have issues with keeping staff. Why is that? If you guessed soft skills are the answer, well, you’re right. Nobody wants to work for a boss that’s a jerk or is so demanding that nothing will ever please them. Customers don’t want to do business with companies whose employees have no concern for them. Nope—all the technical skills in the world will not bring a company success without the comprehensive inclusion of soft skills. Those companies that have already built this into their staff management plan are reaping the benefits of easier hiring and better retention.
Let’s have a look at some examples of soft skills at work:
- Companies rely on having a steady stream of on-going business. To that end, those in the company who handle business development must constantly be seeking new customers and new business from existing customers. They can’t have a positive influence on a customer’s purchase decisions without taking an interest in them and communicating well with them. Technical knowledge is important, but so are strong listening and service skills.
- Technicians working on a site must be able to communicate with their colleagues and with the customers. Timing, productivity, safety, and efficacy all depend on the team collaborating and communicating well with each other. Concepts such as active listening, team building, knowledge sharing, and problem solving are fundamental aspects of work sites.
- People leaders need to coach, guide, and support their team members in such a way that they work safely and effectively and produce results. Not only that, they need to know how to resolve conflicts, guide their team members through change, and motivate them to do great work. This requires relationship skills which are… yes… soft skills.
Soft skills development is not only important for the company, but it’s also important for the individuals working there. The way employees interact with their colleagues, customers, and bosses impacts their ability to move ahead in their careers. They determine how well one does their work, how long they stay in their company, and the reputation they have in the industry. Soft skills can help with building confidence and the wherewithal to handle challenging situations in the workplace. These skills, and the confidence they foster, can help employees become essential members of their teams and help their employers’ businesses immensely.
Have I convinced you? Then let’s talk.
Take Charge Learning offers training for all levels of your organization:
- Service and sales training for field technicians and office staff
- How to Lead training for new and aspiring leaders
- Leadership Training for those already in people leader roles
- Strategic Planning for those entrusted with crafting carrying out the vision of the company
We’d love to bring our training to your team. Contact us today to learn more. You’ll find us here: [email protected]
And check out our website at www.takechargelearning.com.