Sun, 19 August 2018
With major advances in technology and the talk of AI and automation invading the workplace, the subject of soft skills has become a huge topic of discussion for organizations and individual employees. I think soft skills are very important, however I think that most organizations are asking the wrong question when they address the topic.
Most organizations ask the question, what do we need to do inside of our organizations to teach more soft skills. They believe that they need to teach their managers and employees to have more soft skills. But think about the assumption that is made when we ask that question. We assume that our managers and employees don’t have soft skills to begin with.
The truth is we all learn soft skills naturally as we grow up, as we learn and as we interact with others. We learn how to be empathetic, we learn how to communicate with others, we learn how to deal with emotions. All of these things come naturally as we grow up and experience different things.
The question we should be asking is, why is it that employees feel that they can’t use their soft skills at work? The issue is not that people don’t possess soft skills to begin with, it is that they don’t feel safe enough in their organizations to use them. How can employees feel safe to share their opinions, express care and empathy for coworkers, and show their true emotions in the office when they are in an environment filled with bureaucracy, negativity, fierce competition and where employees are seen strictly as numbers. It’s no wonder employees don’t feel like they can use their soft skills.
Instead of asking, what do we need to do inside of our organizations to teach more soft skills, let’s ask, how do we build an organization where employees feel like they can use the soft skills they already have.