Let's stop calling them 'soft skills'
Organizations know how to measure vocational skills. They know how to measure typing skills for example. However, they are less able to measure passion or commitment.
Organizations hire and fire based on vocational skill output. But, getting rid of a negative thinker or a bully is much more difficult. An employee that demoralizes an entire team is hampering productivity.
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Specific vocational skills are essential - coders should be able to code, salespeople should be able to sell. But, we also need soft skills. By only focusing on the seemingly essential skills, we've reduced the value of the skills that actually matter.
What separates thriving organizations from struggling ones is the "soft" skills. These skills are not negotiable.
If you've got the vocational skills, you're of little help without the human skills. The soft skills, or rather real skills, can't replace vocational skills, but amplify the things you've already been measuring.
For instance, a team member with all the traditional vocational skills is the baseline. Add to that perceptive, charismatic, driven, focused, goal-setting, inspiring, motivated, deep listener, and you have a team member that will benefit the organization in exponential ways.
69% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with their employees.
How does one build organizations that are people-focused, while acknowledging that nearly 70% of managers find communication with their employees uncomfortable?
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Some questions are too easy to fake, for example, "What's your greatest weakness?" Other questions like brainteasers reveal more about the manager than the candidate.
Some managers favor candidates who went to the same school. There's also evidence that African-American sounding names, birthmarks, being pregnant, and being overweight puts candidates at a disadvantage.
To overcome this bias, identify the key skills and values in advance, then create a standard set of behavioral and situational questions to ask every candidate. Doing this can triple the manager's accuracy in predicting job performance.
College seniors often stretch the truth in interviews to make a better impression. Be aware that when you meet someone for the first time, you meet their representative.
An antidote could include to let them showcase their skills by collecting a work sample. It might be a project they've done in the past or a live simulation of the job in real-time.
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Traits we will not tolerate within ourselves, we will not tolerate in others. It is a choice we make. We should make those choices consciously and not without thinking.
It’s why corrupt officials choose to be corrupt: because they assume everyone else is as corrupt as they are. It’s why cheaters choose to cheat. It’s why those who can’t trust are the ones who can’t be trusted.
Recognize how you measure yourself and consciously choose your metric. Also, realize that everyone has their own criteria that will not be the same as yours.