Soft Skills and Hard Dollars

WRITTEN March 19, 2015 Author: Rich Atkins

Do we really need soft skills training? The answer is yes. We all could use improvement with these attributes. On the job, technical abilities are developed through repeated practice, but the skills that mean the most to people are not always addressed. These qualities include EI (Emotional Intelligence), personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism. ALL of these characteristics have a positive effect on relationships with other people.

Think back for a moment to the greatest supervisor/manager/boss you’ve ever had. What made that person such an excellent leader in your life? Chances are good that you’re not saying things like, “She could balance a department budget better than anyone else” or “He delegated so well.”

It’s more likely that statements like these come to mind:

  • soft skillsHe empowered me, by giving some guidance and coaching. Then he trusted that I’d get the results that were best for the business. And I did! It worked.
  • She sat with me after department meetings and we’d talk about ways to build better rapport with prospects. Then, when I’d increase my sales, she’d praise my accomplishment and give me some recognition for it.

These examples are relationship-focused. Very little of these descriptions are related to a leader’s technical skills to do the job. In other words, building rapport and strengthening relationships is more important than the skills required to do the job. In most cases, those skills can be developed over time. It’s been well said that “We hire an attitude. We’ll teach the skills for the job later.”

Good relationships always mean increased efficiency at work. Broken relationships on the job result in in absenteeism, turnover, conflict, tension, low productivity, complaints, wasted time, and low morale. This translates into money, or money out, for the business.


Of your Soft Skill set, which would be most useful for you to start improving immediately?

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