Wellbeing and why soft skills are important
Soft skills that include things like interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence and communication are key to building and sustaining a healthy and inclusive culture in any organisation whatever the size or sector. And a healthy and inclusive culture is good for individuals and the organisation. Soft skills can also enable leaders and managers to more effectively identify wellbeing issues in the workplace either for individuals or for teams.
Leaders and managers without the right soft skills, can often actually be the cause of wellbeing issues in the workplace. Many people leave organisations because of people, often difficult relationships with whoever manages them and/or a breakdown of understanding and communication. This can often lead to stress, feeling undervalued or even feeling bullied. Inmany organisations there is often a mismatch of belief and understanding about the organisational culture for example: whether it is a safe and open culture without blame or bullying, whether employees feel valued and motivated at work and are there open conversations about problems and challenges. Not having strongly developed soft skills can also be a problem in identifying wellbeing issues in the workplace either with individuals or teams.
Armed with the appropriate soft skills leaders and managers can create good leadership and the supportive relationships that are key to building and sustaining healthy and productive working lives. Any issues can be identified early for individuals or teams, leaders can intervene early and provide the appropriate levels of engagement and support to achieve a positive outcome.
Here are a few areas to focus on:
- Get to know your people
- What motivates them
- What are their personal triggers for stress
- What are their personality traits and how do they relate to you and other members of the team
- Create a sense of belonging with meaningful feedback, giving praise not just criticism and being prepared to really listen
- Develop and build on your own soft skills
- Learn how to be more aware of others including being able to spot often subtle signs of issues or tensions
- Recognise when there are subtle changes in individual employees or amongst teams including changes in behaviour, lack of focus and interaction or perhaps an individual becoming more detached from the rest of the team
- Have the confidence to identify and address issues
- Have those ‘difficult conversations’ sooner rather than later
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