People's ability to handle the soft skills side of business
These skills are now recognised as key to making businesses more profitable and better places to work.
Increasingly, companies aren't just assessing their current staff and future recruits on their business skills.
They are now assessing them on a whole host of soft skill competencies around how well they relate and communicate to others.
We now find it a bit shocking and somewhat disturbing when someone displays the old autocratic style of bullying management tactics (though we know it is still unfortunately far more prevalent than is desirable).
Many companies simply will now no longer put up with it (bravo!).
Measuring these soft skills is no easy thing.
But in the most progressive companies, managers are looking for people's ability to communicate clearly and openly, and to listen and respond empathetically.
They also want them to have equally well-honed written skills so that their correspondence (including emails) doesn't undo all the good work their face-to-face communication creates.
Good soft skills also include the ability of people to balance the commercial needs of their company with the individual needs of their staff.
Being flexible and able to adapt to the changing needs of an organisation also qualify as soft skills, as do being able to collaborate with others and influence situations through lateral and more creative thinking.
The ability to deal with differences, multiculturalism and diversity is needed more than ever.
Very few companies are untouched by the ever-widening influence of other cultures and good soft skills facilitate better communication and people's ability to manage differences effectively.
Everyone already has some form of soft skills (probably a lot more than they realise)
They just need to look at areas in their personal life where they get on with others, feel confident in the way they interact, can problem solve, are good at encouraging, can schmooze with the best of them.
All these skills are soft and all of them are transferable to the workplace.
Not only that, the best news of all is that soft skills can be developed and honed on an on-going basis through good training, insightful reading, observation and of course, practise, practise, practise.
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