Marilyn Simpson, RN, MSN/Ed
Abilene VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinic
West Texas VA Health Care System, Abilene, TX
The Soft Skills Deficit Disorder is not yet listed among the many formal disorders in the DSM-5. However, the symptoms of this imaginary disorder are present in many of our employees and we already have the tools to help them. There is a 100% chance that someone around you will say something which offends others, and you will be smoothing things over for them yet again. Let us unearth the tools for whittling off the rough edges in those with the fictitious Soft Skills Deficit Disorder.
Think back to the phenomenal bestseller How to Win Friends and Influence People (Carnegie,1936). Glance at a few of the chapter headings below and think of the employees for whom you are constantly apologizing. Do you see the connection between your part in the equation and salvaging staff with Soft Skills Deficit Disorder?
1. Become Genuinely Interested in Others.
2. Be a Good Listener.
3. Talk in Terms of Their Interest, Not Yours.
4. Make the Other Person Feel Important and Do It Sincerely.
5. Avoid Arguments.
6. Praise Every Improvement.
7. Make the Fault Seem Easy to Correct.
8. Ask Questions Instead of Giving Orders
9. Give People a Fine Reputation to Live Up To
Creative solutions for staff who don’t communicate well begin with your being a good listener, allowing him/her to talk about themselves, and issuing the challenge to behave better in the form of a game or idea that is exciting to them.(Carnegie, 1936). Here are some possible ideas which may help you capitalize on the strengths of your employees who still suffer from the make-believe Soft Skills Deficit Disorder.
- Assign Talent Management System (TMS) classes for those employees who seem to alienate everyone. Browse the catalog and choose the content which best fits a problem.
- Facilitate the perfect gentle mentor for the loud/abrasive employee who needs coaching. Appeal to the nobler motives. (Carnegie, 1936).
- Provide the coffee and have a friendly, non-punitive chat behind closed doors and include (only) two recent examples. Keep it short, and end with a laugh.
- Throw down a challenge. (Carnegie, 1936). “The thing that most motivates people is the game. Everyone desires to excel and prove their worth. If we want someone to do something, we must give them a challenge and they will often rise to meet it.”
Reference: Carnegie, D. (1936). How to Win Friends and Influence People. Philadelphia: Simon & Schuster.