7 Tips to Improve Your Employees Soft Skills
Your employee has the perfect hard skills but when it comes to people, you find that they are not as relatable, assertive, or sociable as you might like. What can you do to develop their skills so that they can meet the potential that you see in them?
Here are 7 tips that will help you to do exactly that. Use them to challenge your employees, nurture their soft skills, and get ready to watch them grow!
This is one that can come easily with practice. First, have them sit with you when you are interviewing candidates. Tell them to observe and take notes on your body language, the types of questions you ask, and their general opinions of the candidate being interviewed. Afterward, tell them whether or not you are considering the candidate and ask if they can determine why, based on the candidates' answers and body language.
This teaches them the reasoning behind the questioning and how to recognize useful skills in prospective candidates, a must for leadership roles.
Making someone a team leader gives them a taste of what things are like on the management side. They must learn delegation, conflict management, team building, and meeting difficult deadlines through proper utilization of team members' talents. If they become adept at leading a small group then they may well be management material.
Have your employees give weekly updates via email cc'd to the team and manager. You can also have them rewrite an existing project outline with the goal of reducing the size of the document. This can teach them to write succinctly so that their communication is increasingly sharp, brief, and to the point.
Give assignments on the other end of the spectrum from the employees' standard projects. Pair them up with other team members who have a skill which they are lacking in. Learning to meet a deadline under changing conditions is what a strong business is all about; so don't forget to change the scenery for your employees often.
5. Problem Solving
Now that they have revised a few existing outlines, have them write a project retrofit from beginning to end. The ability to successfully outline a project is enormously valuable. It requires taking a goal and breaking it down into a numbered sequence of smaller goals with timeline projections for each step.
When your employee masters this skill then they will be able to perform more complex projects for the company and you will have an employee who you are comfortable in delegating some of the larger jobs as well.
6. Time Management
Give them more than they think they can do. As the boss, you have a good idea of the employees potential, so give them just a little too much to do and see how they react. Some employees will complain. The very good ones will find a way to meet that deadline. If you have indeed assigned too much, the very best will calmly tell you 'I can only do so many of these efficiently, which project can wait?'.
See what they do under pressure. Let them show you what they are made of.
Teaching is a great way to accentuate existing skills that an employee already has. It is the final level of mastery, as a learned skill is truly tested to the utmost when someone has to impart it to another. It is also an excellent way for an upcoming employee to build rapport with the team that they may be managing one day. Teach and learn, as they say.
We hope that you have been taking notes! Use these 7 tips to help nurture your employees' soft skills and help them to meet their full potential. As a manager, it's your duty to build the most efficient team base possible, via morale boosting and good old fashioned management wizardry. Assign them some of these exercises. They might hate you now for it but they will thank you later when they see the opportunities that come with well-developed soft skills!