Refining our soft skills
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “soft” skills – the ones that are difficult to learn in a traditional sense. The smiling, the attempt to phrase things in a way that keep people from feeling that they need to play defense, etc.
I’ve heard (and probably said myself) that a person either “has it” or doesn’t with regard to these skills. But I don’t believe this to be exactly true. We have to want to possess these skills so we can develop them.
Looking back over my career, the evolution of my marriage, the raising of my young daughter, my soft skill proficiency has improved significantly, especially over the last eight years.
My hope is that, by sharing experiences we have or witness as a bystander, anybody who is interested in using this space to think about or share knowledge about soft skills, we can help reminder each other about how important they are.
So, for my first topic in this area – the University is embarking on a retention/recognition program whereby professional staff (non-union) are eligible for a one-time bonus based on five “pillars” based on the University’s strategic plan:
- Core job responsibilities
- Customer service excellence
- Ability to be nimble and responsive
- Professionalism and respect
- Communication effectiveness
This exercise will be giving supervisors an opportunity to praise their staff, as well as provide useful feedback on areas where people can improve.
I would love to hear from folks their tips for sharing criticism in a way that’s respectful and beneficial so that we all can benefit from this initiative!