Want to be an effective manager? Having good policies and processes in place will help get the job done, but getting the most from your staff requires you to pay some attention to your people skills. People skills are important because they tell and show others how effective you deal with many different types of individuals on a daily basis. The wider the range of others in terms of ages, cultures and company levels that one can deal with, the better that person’s skill level.
It really does not matter which field you work in, whether it is tax, accounting, HR or marketing, the most successful individuals in each area are not necessarily the ones who had the highest university GPA or those who are the most technically gifted, but rather the top stars in each field are the ones with the best people skills.
So where can you learn or develop these soft skills? They are not taught in school and while you can learn them on the job, that would only be the case if you work with someone with exceptional soft skills (or horrible ones) and they are willing to mentor you to develop yours. In school we focus all our time and energy on maximize our grades and probably spend zero time learning to effectively interact with others
Then into the workforce come these brainiacs with super-high GPA’s and they work hard and talk about how smart they are, and watch those with superior personal talents moving up the corporate ladder faster them they do.
By the time they realize what it takes to advance in an organization, it is usually too late, as people tend to get set in their ways after being passed over by someone not as smart but who pleases everyone. These individuals will have reached a ceiling in their fields relatively quickly in their careers.
The world, both corporate and non-corporate, desperately needs more leaders and this lack of leadership will not be filled anytime soon if the majority of the workforce is lacking in people skills. Fortunately, this problem can be addressed in two ways. For those already in the workforce, companies can utilize seminars and workshops as part of on-going professional education on these skills including diversity training. All management, current and potential candidates, should attend such development sessions or take online courses. The result will be a much more efficient management which in turn will mean bigger profits.
The other way is to start in school and expose students at every level and as early as possible to principles of people skills. It may need to be made part of the regular curriculum. Of course, staff including teachers and professors should also be exposed to their own developmental workshops as well since they were most likely not given the opportunity during their own years as students for this type of training.
It might also help to include parents in the education process from the get go so they can foster a more balanced development for their children besides focussing the balance on education and sports / arts.
But at some point every good manager should have that talk with their staff about their soft skills and if the staff member reacts defensively, then sign them up for all the courses because that might just be the justification you were looking for!