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Human skills are underrated: the importance of leadership4 min de lecture

It’s not a shock for anyone: when looking for a job, recruiters tend to pay more attention to your work skills than human skills (or what is called “soft skills”). It’s changing, and here’s why.

If this idea sounds familiar, it’s because it’s all over LinkedIn these days. Indeed, we’re starting to realise that being good – or even great – at something is not enough. Toxic people can ruin a project or even a company. 

Who do you want to work for?

Simon Sinek is talking a lot about this, especially regarding leadership. Here’s what he shared on LinkedIn a few months ago: “Skills like effective confrontation, empathy, and patience are not soft skills. They are human skills, and they must be learned. Organizations often overlook their best internal leaders because they don’t place enough value on these crucial interpersonal qualities. As a result, company leadership suffers”.

And I couldn’t agree more: it is so much nicer to go to work with people you get along with – they don’t need to be your friends, just human and empathetic. We are not robots, and interpersonal relations are vital to many jobs (especially creative ones). And when you feel heard and/or fulfilled somewhere, you’re more productive and will stay longer at your position. It sounds obvious: you will work more/better for a company that shows recognition and people that show empathy. 

Another important thing is that employees want to work for a company they share values with. More and more people want to buy products from brands that promote values they share: in the same spirit, they want to be in harmony with their company’s values. They want a job “that makes sense”. New generations on the job market have a very different vision of what their job should be than previous ones. 

Corporate culture: is it essential?

At the same time, internal communication can be often undervalued. 

“Values are verbs, not nouns. In order to build the culture we envision, we have to enact our values in how we show up every single day”, writes Simon Sinek. To be in phase with our corporate culture is important for many people – in fact, it’s important for our brain. To work for a purpose and not just a salary is more and more important for the new generations. 

Brand image is as important for your clients than your employees. If you want to be a cynic, think about money: an employee that stays costs less money than a new employee (recruitment fees, time put in searching for someone new, training…). 

If you want to think positive, think that an employee that works for a purpose he believes in will be a happy employee (and to get back to cynicism, will be more productive). 

The importance of human skills in management: what kind of leadership are you looking for?

We tend to promote people who do a good job and are good in their field. But that’s not what people want from a manager. They want someone that can listen to them, that makes them better at their job, that teaches them, that is empathetic… 

A manager shouldn’t be someone that is great at their job, but someone who understands what everyone in his team does, and can help them be the best at what they do. A manager is a guide, has human qualities, is someone you can talk to if something’s wrong. Someone that will support and defend you. 

A manager is someone who accompanies you from point A to point B in your career. That is able to let you go when it’s time for you to get to the next step. 

What’s the future of remote work?

The Covid crisis has changed the way we see remote work. Simon Sinek (him again) explains: “Issac Stern said, « Music happens between the notes » and the same is true for trust. Trust happens between the meetings. And building a strong and supportive company culture remotely requires extra effort”. And he’s right. It’s possible but hard. 

More and more studies show that remote work is a good thing: it increases productivity, and people feel trusted. However, we need human contact. We need to talk to our colleagues, not only about work. That is why more and more specialists recommend the 2/3 (2 days at work, 3 days at home). 

It gives employees a sense of freedom and trust, but still maintains a good corporate culture and link between them. To work alone is no easy task and not everyone can do it. People should have the choice

Today’s work vision is evolving: it is not just work VS salary. It’s a way to be fulfilled, to make sense of your life, to feel valued, to feel like you’ve accomplished something.

So what’s your thought? How do you feel at work? Does any of this speak to you? 

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