A study by tech giant Google released in 2017 showed surprising results about how important ‘soft skills’ are in today’s world. The seven top characteristics of Google’s successful employees included empathy, critical thinking, connecting complex ideas, coaching and communicating. The familiar set of skills collectively known as STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – came dead last.
In an increasingly tech-savvy world, it’s important for us to understand as business owners that as so many routine tasks become automated, skills that can’t be performed by machines are becoming more valuable.
“Businesses increasingly rely on critical thinking, emotional judgement, and problem-solving skills in their staff to not just understand what technology is saying, but analyse why it is saying it, and what ought to be done,” a Deloitte report says.
Are soft skills something you would like to develop within your team? Here’s five great tips on how to do this:
- Celebrate small wins – often. All it takes is a quick, but sincere, mention about how well a team member handled a client phone call, how much you appreciate that they helped out another team member or acknowledging someone who found a new way of doing something. This can go a long way to reinforcing positive behaviour like communicating better with clients and across teams, coaching each other and helps to build empathy.
- After action review – this is a military term where after each engagement the team debrief – what happened, why it happened, what went well, what didn’t go well and how can we improve next time. This is a useful tool that can be used in business to create accountability, critical thinking, encourage team work and communication.
- Improve your delegation to build the skills and experience of your team members – check out our Chardonnay Chat video on delegating effectively. This can help build team member’s problem solving skills
- Set and be clear on expectations and give timely feedback – if someone is not communicating well or you don’t think their problem solving skills are up to it, talk to them regularly – use examples of where you feel they didn’t live up to expectations and coach them in how you would have handled a situation differently.
- Do some team training on soft skills like communication or building leadership skills – understanding how different team members communicate can go along way to building empathy within a team and getting the best out of your team members.
Building these skills is something that the Atticus team are working on constantly. We understand that our clients rely on us to not just perform the required tasks, but to look at the big picture. We know that you need someone who knows your business, but is not working in it every day, to come up with suggestions and ideas for improvements or efficiencies. It’s something we are really proud of – we love getting to know you and your business and feeling that we can really make a difference for you. We are about more than numbers – and we’d love to chat about how we can help you.