Soft skills are defined as the “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.” In the workplace, this translates to an employee’s ability to communicate effectively, prioritize efficiently, deal with their teammates positively, and so much more.
Let’s face it. We expect our employees to come into the workforce with all the necessary soft skills learned and perfected along with the skills they need to perform their core duties. However, this is rarely the case, and we are often disappointed when our teams don’t immediately display a full grasp of all the skills they need to be successful in the workplace.
As managers, we can’t expect that every member of the team will join the organization having the full breadth of knowledge of what’s required of them in your culture or environment. But, the opportunity is there to coach them up and help them feel empowered to make great decisions that will ultimately drive the success of your business. You don’t have to put up with rude, late, and unprepared employees, but the onus is on you as a manager to help break these habits and get them on the right track. Let’s dive in and find out how we can accomplish this.
Focus On Dependability
Being dependable is a key trait that will not only serve your team well at work but also in life. At work, you can focus on dependability by holding them to deadlines, keeping them engaged and enthused, and making sure they’re holding up their end of the bargain to their teammates. Being dependable also means being present. If you have an issue with an employee who’s constantly late to work or ducking out early without finishing their deliverables, sit them down and explain to them how these actions let down their teammates and the company. They may not see that being 30 minutes late to work every day is a big issue, but you can show them otherwise. Put a plan in place that keeps them on track and motivated to do a great job.
No one likes a teammate who shows up every day with a frown on their face and sulks around the office just waiting until 5 o’clock rolls around. Encourage your team to be inclusive and communicative so that all employees feel comfortable working with others. Plan a monthly lunch or happy hour and take the time to get to know those you manage or work closely with. If their role is client-facing, it’s even more imperative to make sure they’re feeling engaged and enthused to come to work every day.
Don’t Solve Every Problem
Do you want to have a team that’s dependent upon for you for every little thing or do you want a team that rolls up their sleeves up and figures things out? At my company Kinetix, one of our potential factors we look for and encourage in employees is the ability to figure things out while not relying on everyone else to solve a simple problem for them. Empower your people to make their own decisions, and you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by their instincts.
Mastering the soft skills doesn’t happen overnight, especially for those just leaving college and entering the workforce for the first time. But, if you take the time to coach up these skills in your people, you’ll start to build a kick-ass team that you can rely on for the success of your organization. You don’t have to put up with rude, late, and unprepared but if you encounter it in your team, you’ll be prepared to deal with these challenges head-on.
Patrick is the Marketing Communications Lead at Kinetix, specializing in marketing campaign delivery and analysis. As a data junkie, he can be found in the lab looking at charts, spreadsheets, and campaign results while blasting Radiohead on his headphones. Want to chat? You can find Patrick on Twitter or LinkedIn or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org