Human skills, or soft skills, are more and more often a requirement for jobs in organizations. Why? Because people are ultimately the biggest capital of an organization. They determine the quality of customer contact. And they are the ones who can bring improvements and innovations. Furthermore, excellent cooperation skills give a boost to every project.
For example, if the most brilliant people lack social and emotional skills, their knowledge cannot be shared or used. Or, another example, being grumpy against colleagues or customers is really outdated. People are expected to know themselves and they can’t just 'pretend that everything is going well'.
How do you become 'Human Excellent'? Or how do you ensure that others develop this skill? These 10 tips help you!
1. Know how you react
Sometimes conversations do not work out as you had hoped. People do not do what you ask them to do. Or they react strangely. You may also be surprised about your own emotional response. Sometimes you are not fully aware of your own behavior and what this does with others. Usually this is a result from patterns from the past. For example, you might have been acting ‘tough’ towards a teacher you did not connect with. You can get to know yourself better by asking people you trust for feedback about your behavior. What do they notice?
2. Do not just communicate about the task itself
At work we are very focused on our tasks and the results we want to achieve. There is nothing wrong with that. But a person is more than that. You cannot simply exclude or ‘switch off’ emotions. Emotions always play a role. Do you get stuck with someone in a task or project? Ask about his or her feelings and share something about your own feelings. This can clear the air and you can continue. And don’t forget to make a joke! Laugh and grow fat, as they say. It lightens up the atmosphere and people dare to say more.
3. Change resistance into shared interests
People often talk to each other from their own point of view. They have a strong opinion which is often difficult to change. That means you keep going back and forth with arguments (for and against). To avoid this, it is interesting to discover someone's interest. Do you dig a little deeper? Then you often manage to connect again, discovering shared interests. An example of a shared interest is: 'we want to give the customer's life more quality'.
4. Connect with people
Well running organizations and good results are achieved through strong connections between the different components of that organization: colleagues, departments, hierarchical layers, or contacts with customers and partners. The quality of contact is therefore a crucial condition for business success. But often there is little attention or time to actually connect people. Take a look at yourself: are you open and fully honest towards your colleagues? Unconditional without any prejudices? Do you understand all the issues you and your colleagues deal with? Or does the conversation remain quite distant and detached?
5. Use conflict as an opportunity
Remember: an innovative organization or project is, by definition, conflicting. Because people often react to change with resistance. And often people disagree about the new direction of the company. See this as an opportunity to focus and to find the best solution. The trick is to keep involving everyone's expertise while remembering that there is no right or wrong. Instead, you constantly learn from each other. Never let conflicts simmer, but do something with it. The first step is to acknowledge and name emotions. Such as anger and fear. Then respond to the message behind the words instead of the words themselves.
6. Know your talents and pitfalls
In everyday life you sometimes forget whether you fully use your talent. Doing too many things outside your comfort zone consumes energy. So find out what your passion is. And what your talents are. An easy way to do this is to try and remember what you did as a child. What inspired you? What were you good at? For example, if you won a drawing contest, you don’t just draw well, but you also have a talent to discover your success factors. Your pitfalls are the things that don’t come natural, but that you still do. Sometimes you háve to learn them, other times you can better hand them over to someone else. Choose how you can work and live guided more by your talents.
7. Take time to reflect and muse
'Human Excellence' is characterized not only by doing things right, but also by nót doing things, and let them be. In the weekend, on the road or in the shower we often come up with the most creative ideas or surprising solutions. Why not create moments of reflection during the day? To reflect, to muse. Also, you function better when you are rested, fit and 'open'. When you try too hard to chase your passion, you become exhausted. You can also make clear choices for yourself in your work-life balance. What helps you to recharge? Do that!
8. Take your responsibility. Anytime, anywhere
It is not always easy to take full responsibility at any given moment. But is does mean less stress. Because you address and resolve everything straight away. Also, try not to respond according to certain hidden agendas, but respond spontaneously and be sincere to your own conscience. This is part of mindfulness: you are emotionally in contact with what is going on and then you decide how you want to act.
9. Choose with your mind ánd your heart
Rational choices are often good choices but not always the best. Sometimes your heart says something different than your head. Are you honest? Do you take everyone's interests in the long term into account? Would you choose that for your loved ones as well? Does it match your values? An example: if being creative is your most important value, you cannot always squash the creativity of others. Or if respect is an important value for you, you cannot fire 100 people without helping them find a new perspective on the future.
10. Give others the opportunity to learn
‘Knowing better’ is tiring and very often you are not even right. You deprive people of their own creativity. People are the sum of experiences and knowledge from the past. Your 'package' does not have to apply to someone else who has a very different outlook on life than you. Instead, help people to ask questions rather than come up with solutions. You only learn by failing: we have all experienced that.
De Baak is dedicated to the human side of enterprise. Our aim is to enable leaders and entrepreneurs to make a positive, long-term impact on the lives of individuals, society, planet and profit.
We offer tailor-made training courses and an open program, Transparent International Leadership, for leaders in intercultural (international) organizations. Please contact us for more information: +31(0)343-556369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.