“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” says the famous quote. If this is true for many sensory experiences, such as music, it is also the case for human interactions that require the collaboration of individuals. A soccer team, a chorus, a group of co-workers. And it is the latter, the group, which is increasingly a subject of study by human resources experts and personal development counsellors.
To work well is by itself a difficult task. To work well with others is even more so, but necessary. Teamwork has now become a strategic concern for many companies, from the smallest ones to multinationals. While the skills closely related to the job are now being taken for granted, it is on the field of the soft skills that the match point is really played.
The term ‘soft skills’ group personal qualities, attitude and interpersonal relationship skills. These skills are divided into big categories such as: cognitive (eg problem solving, analysis and synthesis), relational (eg negotiation, collaboration, customer orientation), realization (eg proactivity, performance orientation) and managerial (eg leadership, ability to delegate). It is no coincidence that among the most desired personal characteristics in a business context we find the ability to work in group.
Knowing how to relate to another person and, consequently, to a colleague, is a matter that is strongly related to emotional intelligence, that is the ability to recognize, use, understand and manage emotions. It is crucial to learn how to handle emotion-driven reactions and link the events to specific causes that have triggered them.
Regardless of the traits of our personality, which consolidate in the adulthood and are difficult to modify, soft skills can and should be trained. Knowing how to listen, for example, is one of the cornerstones of a good relationship with colleagues and, in return, a good performance of a team. To listen, not just to be able to answer, but to understand what the other person wants to say, suspending personal judgments or interpretations. Also, it is important to learn to pay attention to nonverbal language and evaluate the message as a whole.
Manage yourself and others in a team does not only mean to avoid the clash but being able to support the development of reactions and constructive relationships between the members. Especially the group leaders are called to modulate their communication style and master the art of motivational discourse, an indispensable tool to stimulate, raise awareness and prepare for change their own group.
Despite engagement and professionalism, it is highly expectable that the various subjects involved, on more than one occasion, disagree. Soft skills are important to tackle the clash as constructively as possible. Knowing how to come to an agreement to work better together is also the title of the free workshop proposed by the Bologna Business School on Thursday, October 19, at 5.30 pm. An interactive lesson where to explore the vision of the agreement between people in working environments. On the same occasion it will be also presented the Interpersonal Skills course, a program that aims precisely to provide the tools to help people collaborate in a constructive and profitable way.
If competences are the bricks we use to build our career, soft skills are the cement that binds everything.