The Hard Stuff of Soft Skills

The so-called 'soft skills' that influence personal, social, communication and self-management behaviours have become even more important in recent times.

Soft skills refer to non-technical and interpersonal qualities, habits, attitudes and social graces that make for a productive employee and a compatible co-worker. These skills are increasingly important to people wanting to grow and advance their careers and organisations wanting to reach peak performance.

An ever-growing body of research is supporting the need for soft skill competency.

A 2010 executive leadership study by US consulting firm Green Peak Partners and Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labour Relations found that self-aware leaders who possess strong interpersonal skills deliver better financial performance than 'results-at-all-costs' executives.

The study, which examined the leadership styles and track records of 72 senior executives at public and private companies, found that a high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success, and that executives whose interpersonal skill scores were low scored badly on every single performance dimension.

AIM CEO Vivienne Anthon FAIM stressed the importance of soft skills in management.

"Soft skills enhance an individual's interactions at all levels and are the cornerstone of effective and authentic management," Ms Anthon said.

"The organisational benefits of fostering good soft skills within staff include having cooperative and productive staff, loyal clientele, a friendly organisational culture that contributes to staff development, an improved organisational skill base and strong leadership skills amongst staff," she said.

AIM is bringing world famous author, international speaker and thought leader Dr Lois Frankel to Australia in June to share her wisdom on enhancing soft skills for career progression and achieving goals.

"Dr Frankel is a strong advocate of the importance of soft skills. In the introduction to Stop Sabotaging Your Career - 8 Proven Strategies to Succeed in Spite of Yourself, Dr Frankel writes that people who get and keep the jobs they want aren't always those with the highest IQs or who work the hardest or longest. They're the people who understand that non-technical capability and soft skills are every bit as important - if not more important - as technical competence," Ms Anthon said.

"Dr Frankel says that managers are regularly asked to make influential decisions regarding people who appear to be equally qualified. They often choose one over the other through observing and acknowledging the less tangible aspects of workplace behaviour. Remarks like "Great worker, but doesn't get the big picture" or "Talented operator, but doesn't get along with people" give the greatest clues as to how soft skills affect individual progression and organisational decision making.

Dr Frankel's 2011 visit coincides with the release of her new title, Nice Girls Just Don't Get It, which teaches women how to assert themselves to get what they want in any situation and across all areas of their lives.

In a breakfast keynote session and an in-depth MasterClass in Brisbane on Wednesday 15 June, Dr Frankel will cover critical strategies for women to handle life's most challenging people and situations to become happier and more successful.

Dr Frankel will also present a breakfast keynote in Mackay on Thursday 16 June that will draw from her title, Stop Sabotaging Your Career. This session will focus on how to avoid the most common 'career killers' and become an invaluable member of any work environment.

For more on Dr Lois Frankel's upcoming presentations, including a special group booking price for all of her events, visit www.aimevents.com.au or call 1300 882 895.