Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's The How

Over the years I've had the privilege of working with a lot of really smart people. Whether they were in formal or informal leadership roles, practiced clinically or worked in finance, information technology, marketing, and yes human resources, my industry is packed with really bright people. Over those same years I've seen many of those bright people struggle mightily and in some cases fail. Why? They knew "what" to do, they just never mastered the "how."

Soft Skills Can Kill You
I've written in the past about how much I dislike the term soft skills. I've finally realized that the term must have come from those individuals who are terrible at dealing with people effectively, so they tried to downplay that skill set and called it soft. Those are some of the same leaders I've seen who have failed miserably. That's a shame, really. All of that knowledge and brain power wasted because they never figured out how to interact with people.

Old Dogs and New Tricks
A phrase that comes up again and again in my human resources practice has to do with someones personality. "Oh, that's just his personality." Or, "she has one of those personalities that you just have to learn to deal with." I completely disagree with this perspective.

"Making excuses for someones behavior simply because none of the organization's leaders had the backbone to address it does not make it right."

Old behaviors that might have worked when Richard Nixon was President no longer apply to the modern workplace. Sadly, we still see leaders that believe either avoiding a problem or using an iron fist will solve everything.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and it's actually embarrassing for those that still try to use these approaches.

How About You
Have you spent so much time learning "the what" that you've neglected "the how?" Maybe it's time to rethink your delivery, and not worry so much about the accuracy of every little idea. Or, perhaps you know a good leader who has let "the what" get in the way of their work. Today might be a good day to help them out with "the how"...before it's too late.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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