For many years management consultants and organizational trainers have promoted the idea that learning “soft people skills” is difficult.
I’ve often wondered whether or not that was the case since we all use soft people skills everyday. We communicate, listen, reach out to others, work together in groups, church or soccer leagues. We make decisions, adapt to often difficult situations, manage conflicts with our children and significant others and manage to get to work every day on time.
I argue that we already possess these soft people skills, but what has proven challenging, like many others things in life is transferring daily life soft skills into our work and team situations. Others we work with also have these skills that they are trying to utilize as well.
The trick in my opinion has a lot to do with creating a learning environment where all of these soft people skills can be experienced, talked about, and applied to real time work activities.
It has been my experience that creating experienced based group learning is the best way to accomplish this transference.
I recognize today, that learning and education programs are increasingly remote, social media based and run to be more efficient. These are all good things I’m sure, but as a result perhaps we have lost the human element of personal contact, interaction, verbal and non-verbal cues and team dynamics where various aspects of our personalities can be fully understood, enriched and aligned with others to create a powerful force for change.
I am a graduate of The American Graduate School of International Management, “Thunderbird” where were taught how to apply soft people skills in other countries. This was a great learning experience for me, as I was working in over 35 countries and discovered, that we are all really the same people at heart, so much like one another and often have the similar desires, needs, love of family, friends, diverse ways in which we like to communicate, foods we love to eat, and always seeking ways to makes us happy and content. Tapping into this level of human awareness is something I believe will make incorporating your soft people skills into the workplace much easier.
Start with the premise that we all have these soft people skills we all use every day, get in touch with these skills and realize they aren’t difficult to focus on, but simply a matter of putting one foot in front of another.
Mark Hordes is a Houston-based organizational change management and transformation senior consultant at Mark Hordes Management Consultants LLC.
This article originally appeared on Houston Business Journals.
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