As important as technical skills and knowledge may be in your industry, team leaders and teammates soon realize that the soft stuff is really the hard stuff.
Workplace performance is the result of developing your people beyond the normal range of technical skills.
Emphasizing soft skills is not just important – it is vital to creating a culture of consistent improvement and results.
Like many leaders, as a young coach I focused primarily on strategy and the requisite skills that I thought were important – but neglected the interpersonal dynamics that would have had a tremendous positive impact on our team success.
As Peter Drucker says, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
And if you are serious about improving your results, you need to invest time and resources in developing the soft skills that impact your culture.
If you agree that culture is repeated behaviors, and behaviors are the result of beliefs, and that beliefs are a symptom of awareness, and that awareness is driven by experiences… then it is vital that you design and schedule EXPERIENCES that will ultimately be a catalyst for the culture you want to create.
That means focusing on the soft skills that your people need to be WINNING TEAMMATES.
Because whether it is basketball or business, it isn’t toxic talent that wins championships – it is the coordinated effort of people who work together most effectively.
If you are looking to improve your workplace performance, you would be wise to focus more on trying to ignite your people’s appreciation and adoption of these FIVE important soft skills:
- empathy –
Having emotional awareness and a desire to understand other’s moods and challenges and desires is a key to interpersonal effectiveness. You don’t have to have lived through their stuff to UNDERSTAND how they must feel – and feeling understood is a huge part of feeling connected.
- initiative –
Having a strong work ethic is impressive… but even more impressive is someone who looks around and SEES something that needs to be done and then takes ACTION without having to be asked.
- listening –
The best teammates and leaders don’t tell. They learn to ASK. The quality of your life is determined by the quality of questions you ask! Actively asking for and seeking clarity about other’s perspectives and needs is a vital skill for winning teammates.
- collaboration –
The problem is rarely a lack of information… the problem is a lack of SHARING and requesting information… and the best leaders design processes that encourage it throughout their organization.
- ownership –
Claiming responsibility for RESULTS of what lands on your desk or inbox. The best teammates know the importance of problem solving instead of problem shifting and putting issues on somebody else’s desk. This skill leads to the doing all of the others!
As a team leader or invested teammate, you likely already recognize the significance and impact of people that are strong in these areas.
Harvard Business School released a study in 2016 that found a toxic employee can cost a company over $12,000 per year, while a superstar employee can actually ADD $5,000 to their bottom line – all because of the impact their actions and attitudes have on the team performance.
Abraham Maslow famously said, “What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself”
If you want YOUR team to improve THEIR soft skills and awareness, you need to provide them with experiences like an intentional teambuilding event or training that will improve their awareness of the impact their actions have on team performance.
And if you want to ensure that your people are AWARE of what it means to be a Winning Teammate, consider sharing the book with your team!