Do Leaders Really Promote on People Skills?
by Kate Nasser |
Research and articles report that people skills, also known as soft skills, are critical skills for today’s business success. They claim that the hard skills, (occupational skills), are not enough. Interpersonal skills, communication excellence, ability to inspire diverse people and build high performance teams are where it’s at!
It then begs the question: Leaders, do you really promote people based on their excellent people skills? Or are you still tempted to promote someone to a leadership position based on their occupational prowess?
Leaders often find themselves in this dilemma partly because they think of people skills as soft skills. Is this thinking a legacy of the industrial revolution? Leaders’ definitions of success were very closely tied to technological progress (even before the computer).
This thinking can be dangerous in an era where innovation, creativity, and capturing diverse talents are the pathway to business success. People skills are not soft. People skills prowess is a complex and refined ability to inspire people to produce hard tangible results. It materializes in communication, team dynamics, and leadership that taps and blends global talents for an innovative competitive edge.
Most everyone agrees that the ideal leader would have: outstanding people skills, great vision, critical thinking prowess, as well as the ability to inspire innovation/change, assess and take risks, market, and easily understand the financials. If this ideal candidate is not available, which skills would you primarily seek? Whom would you select? Why?
I advise many leaders to look for the following tangible people-skills when promoting staff:
- How does the staff interact with leaders, colleagues, other team members, and outsiders?
- What evidence do you have of that staff inspiring teamwork, innovation, and collaboration?
- When the staff communicates, does s/he use open ended questions to invite discussion, listen reflectively, and also clearly state his/her own opinions?
- What have you witnessed in the staff that tells you this person thrives in diversity and change?
- How well have they led global virtual teams? What were the results?
I welcome a lively and civil discussion on this topic and invite you to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. What advice would you share with leaders on how to find the best staff to promote?
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach delivers workshops, keynotes, consults and coaching on the people-skills for teamwork, customer service, and sales. 20 years of experience feeds her new sessions and your success. For more information and what others say about her work, see this site.