Why people skills are so essential in leadership
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Collaboration and relationship building are critical elements in the leadership arena. So, why is it so hard to develop relationships within an organization?
Since people are the most important asset within an organization, it would make sense that people skills would be as well. However, some leaders shy away from doing the work necessary to become more proficient in their people skills.
In "The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market," David J. Deming of Harvard indicates that people skills are becoming increasingly more important as you climb the career ladder. As technology grows more rampant in the workplace, people skills or soft skills as per the paper, are becoming what is necessary to work in teams and others areas within an organization.
Deming cites ''cognitive skill and social skill are complements in the determination of wages, and that skill complementarily has grown over time." He also finds that "workers with greater social skills are more likely to work in social skill-intensive and less-routine occupations and to earn a relatively higher wage return in these occupations."
"The slow growth of high-paying jobs in the
People skills often take a backseat to having better technology prowess. Companies focus on how much time can be saved, how fast a task can be accomplished, what are the results if we depend upon more on computers and other technology, etc. The results are less and less human interaction within the organization.
"Such nonroutine interaction is at the heart of the human advantage over machines," Deming reiterates.
Workers have the advantage of using their skills to include strengths, adaptability, flexibility and communication depending upon what is happening within the organization.
"Human interaction in the workplace involves team production, with workers playing off of each other's strengths and adapting flexibly to changing circumstances," Deming writes.
Leaders can use this human interaction to their advantage. This advantage is what sets us apart from technology. Our technology is only as good as the human behind the machine. Our "humanness" has the upper hand. We can be more open in our communications with each other. Developing listening skills can give a leader an edge over others.
It is not only what you say but also how you say it. Be aware of your attitude toward others. Leaders have a responsibility in making sure they have a person's trust, and their word is sacrosanct. An organization cannot get along without people, no matter how good the technology.
Leaders should never shy away from being good with their workforce. Develop, mentor and give assignments that will give an individual a chance to grow. There is no greater theme than to lift someone and make one shine.
We will always have technology, and it will be constantly changing. Leaders need to lead and set an example. Do not be afraid to be a real person and expand upon your people skills. People skills will take a leader and others a long way in improving the overall culture of the organization.
As author Stephen Covey so eloquently states, "In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do."
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