Business Acumen Grows Where Soft Skills Thrive
Business Acumen and Soft Skills Relate
Several reports in recent years tell the same story: The business world is desperate for a serious uptick in soft skills. Employees with stellar work histories are not enough to help businesses achieve the degree of business acumen they need to succeed in today’s increasingly collaborative-driven workplace.
When a Google survey of its management found soft skills ranked number-one as the skills most lacking by employees, David Payton, VP of FedEx Services, was not surprised.
We Need to Cross the Generational Divide
“Businesses need people with the ability to lead teams across diverse audiences, diverse groups and particularly, across generations,” Payton says. “This means the ability to communicate respectfully, manage conflict and solve problems collectively.”
Without these skills, teams often fail to keep projects on track. “It’s a collision course for seasoned folks who have a track record of success refusing to accept new ideas from younger folks who think they know what’s best with all their new information,” says Payton. “Both groups are inflexible, and that’s where soft skills would help.”
Expertise from the Business Acumen Institute allows businesses to bridge this gap. We work with leadership at all levels to foster a climate of openness and shared understanding with their teams.
Middle-Management and the EQ Crisis
Few are as aware of the issues a lack of soft skills creates than middle-managers. They witness every day how productivity suffers from consistent miscommunication, siloed teams and power struggles. We guide people through the many aspects of improving the emotional intelligence (EQ) of a team.
Teams with a high EQ are the byproduct of a culture that realizes morale is as great a priority as meeting deadlines and budget projections. Some startups are known for emphasizing culture from day one. But then they scale and join everybody else who is so busy fighting for market share, culture becomes a back-burner issue.
We help rebuild these cultures — and create ones where they never existed — with training that covers every aspect of what it takes to possess a high EQ.
- Active listening. What does it look/sound like?
- Conflict resolution. Where to begin? What are the steps to inclusion, solution buy-in?
- Collaborative aptitude. What are its foundations? How does an organization measure this? How does it correct dysfunction?
Change Starts at the Top
From front-line employees to c-suite occupants, individual behavior often reflects the culture. In large corporations, several sub-cultures exist, resulting in some people wishing they worked in a different department – one where they know people are treated better.
If leadership demands soft skills take precedence throughout the company, and more importantly, leaders model these skills, every employee knows what behaviors are expected and which ones will not be tolerated.
Behavioral training that fosters soft-skill development:
- The art of giving feedback: What improves motivation? What kinds of delivery kill it?
- Curiosity: Asking questions the right way teaches others to trouble-shoot, look at problems from all angles and learn how to collaborate better. What are those questions? How should leaders follow-up once input is gathered?
- Relationship goals: They determine the retention of employees, customers, vendors and anyone else vital to the success of a business. What should these goals be? How do businesses reach them?
Relationships are the lynchpin to business success. Soft-skill development and boosting our EQ create better relationships and heal troubled ones. The idea these areas are less important than other business skills is antiquated and extremely expensive when employee turnover and customer service become problems. The belief that “you’re either a people person or you’re not” is no longer true, as companies that engage in training in these areas see positive change.
Job seekers have plenty of resources to learn what kind of culture potential employers have cultivated. What will they learn about your business?