According to our recent poll, more than half of employers told us that teamwork, communication, and interpersonal skills are the most critical for their workplace. Adaptability came in second, chosen by more than 30 percent of the group.
These softer skills beat out research/analysis, planning/organizing/project management, problem-solving/creativity and computer/technology skills and point to how important relationships are within a company.
"People need to know how to make teams work for them," says Christopher M. Avery, author of the book Teamwork is an Individual Skill: Getting Your Work Done When Sharing Responsibility. "Not treating teamwork as an individual skill and responsibility allows otherwise highly skilled employees to justify their non-performance by pointing their finger at others."
Whether a team is good, bad, or somewhere in the middle, Avery says each individual must take 100 percent responsibility for the team's results, and take personal responsibility for the productivity of every relationship at work.
His TeamWisdom philosophy focuses on each individual being served by the team to achieve their goals, as opposed to each individual being compliant to whatever the team wants.
So, how do you go about training your staff and building these soft skills?
You could start by reminding staff of Dale Carnegie's golden rules. Here are the first nine rules from his Golden Book that focus on how to become a friendlier person.
- Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
- Give honest, sincere appreciation.
- Arouse in the other person an eager want.
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
- Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.
Research shows that building relationships within your company will yield lasting, positive results for your business.