Communication is a “Hard Skill” to Strengthen
Job satisfaction is at the lowest rating in two decades. It's not about what employees are doing, with that most are pretty happy. The problem? Besides pay and benefits, job satisfaction is based upon the relationships with the boss and co-workers and the degree of work and life balance. The statistics are startling and the implications profound. Once thought a 'soft skill,' it is clear that communication and relating skills impact the bottom line in terms of employee productivity, creativity and retention which are directly tied to job satisfaction. Communication is a "hard skill" to strengthen.
Yes, I realize the pun I am writing here. I am so convinced of the bottom line, hard currency effect of improving communications skills that I dedicated an entire radio show to this topic and I'll be writing about for a while to come. It is a wonder to me sometimes how the most obvious thing is completely blocked from our awareness. After all, life is about people and the relationships we create and sustain so that we do stuff. So many people and organizations ask for support to 'do stuff.' What I notice is that most leaders either don't realize or don't want to acknowledge that the biggest barrier to doing stuff is being real, being present, being a listener, being curious and being available for relationships with others who share our commitment to something. Lots of energy is expended looking for causes that are perceived as "hard costs" to eliminate or reduce -- including firing and laying off personnel. It is a rare and powerful leader who understands the multiplier effect of effective communication inside an organization. I challenge you to think of anything that happens in our professional life that isn't directly dependent on being an effective communicator. Next week I'm going to write about the role of communication skills in providing effective performance feedback. What else shall we explore and help leaders make a positive, bottom line impact?