Have you got what it takes to be a leader? No, I’m not talking about the technical skills – the ones that people think are so critical. I’m talking about what might be referred to as the “soft skills” because those are the ones that make a difference!

Jack knew his job inside out and backwards as the saying goes. He could fix a computer with his eyes closed. Okay, so all the old sayings are a bit much! Yet I think they get the idea across. He was amazing at his job.

And then he was promoted. That’s exciting! He would have an office, an increase in pay, he would sit in with other managers at the weekly meetings, have more responsibilities and staff. That last one makes all the difference in the world. That’s where Jack hit the wall!

Suddenly he needed to step out of his comfort zone and become involved with people – that means talking to them, helping solve problems with others, providing motivation and even settling disputes. So, what skills does he need now? Those soft skills that help him get in touch with others…

Consider these soft skills/success skills:

  • Listen – with both ears – listen to understand, ask questions to clarify and only speak when you know the situation and the desired outcome
  • Motivate – we all know you can’t motivate another individual, however, you can create the environment so people feel the desire to motivate themselves
  • Find the Positive – look for what people are doing right rather than what they are doing wrong – praise in front of others (if this is okay with the individual) and point out challenges in private
  • Inform – keep the team informed of what you can (there are some things management cannot share and we understand that) however, information is not power, keeping things that can help your team to yourself can only eventually create distrust – difficult surprises can make people feel like you are not on their side
  • Influence – rather than force the work on your people, find out what excites them and use that to help them see the advantage of doing what’s necessary
  • Trust – people work well when they can believe what you say – say what you will do and then do it – we call it walking the talk

Kelly had amazing logistics skills – she could get everything to the right place at the right time for the right price. Yet, when she became a manager over a team it was a little challenging. She found it difficult to partake in small talk to get a conversation going. Yet, once she confided this challenge to her team, they began to help her. As she was honest, so too was her team. Together they went on to do amazing things in her department!

She found that when she was vulnerable and let her staff know of her weaknesses, they were only too happy to support her and help her. It was tough to stand in front of her staff and explain her own short comings. Yet, what a difference that made. They knew she was human, that she had shortfalls, and that she wanted to be better. It is amazing the transformation when everyone was rooting for her and helping her be better than she already was.

If you want to be a success, recognize the importance of the soft skills. After all, they are the skills that will make you a success. Getting along with other people and leading them as opposed to pushing them is key.

You learn the technical skills in technical school, college and university. That’s great – you need these skills in your chosen field. Yet, without those soft skills you will rarely be the success you are hoping to be. And, soft skills will become even more valuable in the future as AI takes over much of the technical areas that were once done by human hands.

The soft skills are the critical skills. Learn them, practice them and live them!

Sherry’s CORNER

Have you heard a story that brought tears to your eyes lately? Recently a basketball team did exactly that for me, in fact, acts of kindness generally do that for me!

In December, a basketball game in Lumsden, Saskatchewan did just that. Ben, a special needs young man joined his basketball team – the thrill of his life. During the last minute of the game, Zane, a Greenall player handed the ball to Ben under the Lumsden net and told him to shoot. It only took 5 attempts and Ben sunk the ball – Ben did a little dance while the crowd roared!

This is our new generation – the one coming up, the Zoomers, who will eventually be our newest employees, those who run our communities. Such a feeling of exhilaration knowing we are and will be in such good hands. What have you witnessed that shows such wonderful caring to make someone else’s day one to remember?

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