Help your people master soft skills
By Cegos Team the 24 January 2020
Soft skills – those intangible skills that make you an effective leader, communicator or collaborator – are on the rise. Like any skill, however, they take time and practice to master, which can be an obstacle to success if you take the wrong approach.
How do you take the best approach and get it right?
At Cegos, we have been helping people boost their soft skills for decades, so we know that doing so effectively requires a change in habits. Learners must ensure they put in the hard work to see any recognisable impact on their skill set. They must also be given support by their organisation to help make change happen.
Here is a four-step process to help your people develop soft skills that will have a positive impact on themselves, their colleagues and your organisation.
1. Establish a positive change mindset
Motivation is one of the key elements of learning a new skill. When your people understand the benefits of learning a soft skill – such as how to write persuasively, for example – then they are more likely to achieve it. Being clear from the outset about why they need to develop that skill as well as how it will be useful in the workplace will make a huge difference to the end result. But they must also be prepared to unlearn the way they worked before and change bad habits. Phycologists say it takes us around 60 repetitions to form a new habit, so having a clear goal and understanding the amount of work it takes to master the skill will keep your people motivated.
2. Build a learning environment that works
Despite the growing popularity of e-learning, many people still prefer to learn in a face-to-face classroom environment. However, we understand from Cegos research that people are comfortable with online learning that complements the classroom experience. The concept of Anytime, Anywhere, Any Device (ATAWAD) is attractive to busy professionals who are always on the go, and your people are more likely to stick with a learning programme – and see real results – when you build a learning environment that is convenient and engaging.
3. Create opportunities for practise and give feedback
Soft skills, by their nature, take time to develop fully, so regular practice is key to success. Line managers should create opportunities for their team to practise and develop their skills, and give formalised and informal feedback to help their team make improvements. Remember, you should always back up constructive criticism with a goal and plan for improvement.
4. Ensure individuals transfer skills to the workplace
Ideally, your people should be given an opportunity to practise on the job, as this is where they will use soft skills the most. Simply studying the techniques will make a small difference, but you can’t beat learning by doing. On-the-job training is very much part of the soft skills training process, so should be integrated into any programme.
Given the rising importance of soft skills in the professional world, helping your people master such skills has been the focus of our work here at Cegos for some time.
Very soon, we will launch a new exciting initiative that helps your people develop soft skills through a mix of e-learning, coaching and on-the-job practice. Stay tuned.
If you would like to learn more about our soft skills acquisition programmes, contact us for more details or visit the Cegos website