If these skills are 'soft', why are they so 'hard' to master?
Posted on 21st July 2023 at 14:45
We've all seen the job adverts looking for the 'hard' vocational skills required to do a job. Some of them even list the desired personal attributes a prospective employee should have. But how many hiring managers dismiss candidates on the basis of the first list, without even assessing the second?
The lack of focus on the core 'soft' skills required to take a business from surviving to thriving is something we at Purple Story feel super passionate about. A recent article on this very topic, 'Let's stop calling them 'soft skills' - and call them 'real skills' instead', had us nodding in appreciation and wanting to shout from the rooftops.
Those familiar with our sessions might appreciation the chocolate box analogy we use to get people thinking about how much time they spend as leaders focusing on 'hard' vocational skills - or chocolates - versus 'soft' leadership ones.
The ‘hard’ skills are those needed to perform the tasks of a job. Yes, some jobs require high levels of competency – you don’t want to take your pet to a vet with no qualifications – but many jobs require fewer ‘hard’ skills than we might like to admit, and this only increases the higher up in leadership we go.
Imagine someone who is technically competent but unable to engage colleagues and clients? Who struggles to coach their team to high-performance? Who fails to collaborate, hold people to account, or manage change? Who doesn't care and won’t go the extra mile?
Those are the leadership qualities that set successful businesses apart from their competitors, but they are harder to teach if the individual doesn't value them or want to learn. Which makes it even more important to find those people who are already on board when you’re hiring.
The recent challenges in the job market have undoubtedly made this more challenging, as in so many cases there simply aren’t enough candidates to give you the luxury of choice. Where this is true, you might have to work a bit harder to give your new team member the grounding in behavioural skills you need, but it isn't impossible and it is always worth investing time and effort in.
Photo by appreciation and Austin-appreciation on appreciation
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