Addressing Your Businesses Lack Of Soft Skills

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


The thing about skills in your business is that having “the right skills” is a bit like a moving target. Once you’ve identified what skills are needed for your company to progress further, the goalposts get moved or times change, and you need to invest in upskilling your workers onto the next part of the evolutionary chain. Doing something like keeping up to date with tech is pretty straightforward, you find out what needs to be learned, or how to use a system, and you teach it to people, simple. But these are technical skills or hard skills. Soft skills, on the other hand, is what will make the difference between you and the next business. If there are two businesses, side by side and both have the same amount of hard skills. But one has a flexible attitude to work, and the other doesn’t, or there is a team leader who is proactive while the other is stubborn and hard to work with, which one would you go for? Of course, you’d pick the flexible and proactive one, because their soft skills are much more palatable, and this could be the difference for your company. So, how do you identify that there is a soft skills gap in your business?

Have A Long, Hard Look At Yourselves
Do you have trouble keeping clients? You might be great at getting clients, and lulling them in, but if you find that they jump ship a short while later, your business could be all mouth and no trousers. Likewise, do you have your staff members jumping ship after a certain amount of time and so you have to invest in training a whole new bunch? This can have a draining effect, not just on your finances, but on the morale of your company. And where does morale come from? You, your team leaders, your line managers. If you don’t have real leaders, but merely people filling the roles of managers, then you're unlikely to have your soft skills covered. Your business is full of people with very many skills, but if you don’t have the communication in place to capitalise on the vast array of skills and knowledge in your team, then you don’t have one of the core soft skills where it really matters.

How Do You Begin To Make Changes?
Ultimately it’s yourselves where you need to begin. You could look at changing clients or work on creating relationships with new clients from the perspective of a clean slate, but this is the long way round, and this has an aroma of the shoddy workman blaming his tools. You can try it this way, by finding new clients and telling yourself that you're going to treat them differently this time, but this is not addressing the problem directly. Internally, as with every successful change in life, is where you have to start. Luckily there are many different options, and training programmes such as mentoring is a viable option if you have the time. While we’d all love to have one to one assistance, it isn’t a financially suitable option. There are plenty of training programmes where teachers come into your workplace and go over the necessary soft skills, such as on the Activia website, the various amount of soft skills, from assertiveness to developing relationships, are covered. As far as training courses are concerned, it’s vital to have the right training company to understand what you need to develop, so no time, and no money is wasted!

Looking From The Inside Out…
While a lot of businesses may shirk the idea of having someone come in and teach them how important it is to work as a team, the reasons soft skills are so essential are many. The various areas covered by soft skills include creative thinking, conflict resolution, collaboration, and even personal accountability. The list goes on, but if you can spot these diverse sets of skills in a company, then it’s likely that soft skills are in abundance. And while the impact of soft skills is clearly seen within the company in the form of better relationships, clarity between the worker and the work, but the impact is also felt outside of this circle, through your stakeholders, your clients, and your customers. Identifying the areas that any team needs to develop on is a skill in itself, but if you can make sure that the various soft skills are developed, then this will be the best investment you can make across the board.

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