Pressure is one of the realities in today’s fast-paced business environment. To not be able to deal well with pressure is to practically guarantee you will be ineffective in performing your job. Today, we will discuss dealign with pressure and give some tips for handling pressure at work.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss:
* Finding the sweet spot in handling pressure
* The Yerkes-Dodson Law
* Pressure and control

Some suggestions for dealing with stress:

1. Accept that stress is a part of life and work. Don’t fight it. Don’t complain about it. Just acknowledge it.
2. Anticipate stressors. If you know a deadline is coming, make sure you eat well, get a good night sleep and clear as much as possible in advance of that day.
3. Don’t take on other people’s stress. Different things cause each of us stress. Listen to others, but don’t make someone else’s stress yours.
4. Make time for daily stress-busting activities. Taking a walk, deep breathing, meditation, journaling, exercise are among the strategies many people use to combat stress.
5. Don’t make stress worst than it is. Stress will come and go. Can you remember the stressors in your life two months or two years ago? Probably not. Just let them go.

Have you joined The Soft Skills Revolution? We are giving resources out for free to people interested in better understanding their soft skills. It’s free and it’s easy. Just provide your email and away you go. Nothing to buy or sell. Jut go to thesoftskillsrevolution.com.

Next week

We will tackle another soft skill. New episodes come out each Wednesday.

Natural curiosity or a willingness to learn is a powerful tool, building on the processes, software and techniques that you know are just the foundation for your success.

Among the topics cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss are:

  • How changes in the workplace necessitate the need to be willing to learn
  • How do you tease out a willingness to learn in an application
  • Employers want to see a willingness to learn
  • Curiosity is key
  • Hints for learning new things to promote your professional benefit

Next Week

We will look at another soft skill, dealing with ambiguity. New episodes every Wednesday.

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Being unable to accept criticism can hurt our ability to advance in our careers, relationships and in life. We will discuss this complicated soft skill and give hints for delivering and responding to it better.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham talk about a number of important issues, including:

  • Why the soft skill of accepting criticism can be difficult to hear
  • How accepting criticism can benefit us and our development
  • What happens when we don’t accept criticism
  • Helping you versus hurting you with criticism
  • When to discount people’s criticism
  • Filtering out the good criticism and retaining ownership
  • Finding people to trust and value who give you constrictive feedback
  • How to give constructive criticism
  • When to table someone’s criticism
  • “The Sandwich Method” of criticism
  • When a cooling off period pays off for everyone   
  • Preventing criticism from paralyzing us
  • Why organizations need to integrate feedback and criticism into their operations to become better
  • Making a case for writing down suggestions, rather than speaking them

Next week

We will address another soft skill and its implications. New episodes come out every Wednesday

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Age, ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, political, social and lifestyle diversity is a reality in today’s workplace. In this episode of the Serious Soft Skills Podcast, we will discuss what being culturally aware means and how to avoid being culturally unaware.

Among the topics Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss in this episode:

  • Dealing with diversity in the workplace and how it affects performance, innovation and meeting customers’ needs
  • The example in computers and how they look differently for a 60 year old vs. a 20 year old
  • Why we need to try to see the world more broadly than only through our own eyes
  • How opportunities are lost when we go blindly or avoid situations
  • Awareness of where diversity issues arises is the first step
  • When we put people in a place of being an outsider and how it hurts us
  • Something as simple as food can raise issues or diffuse them
  • How Goleman’s work on emotional intelligence set the stage, but does not full cover cultural awareness
  • Individual and organizational responsibility for recognizing and leveraging people’s differences
  • How mentoring and one-on-one interactions, and even our peers, can help us become more adept
  • Finding similarities can overcome great challenges

Hints for Being More Culturally Aware

  1. Avoid doing anything that could marginalizing one or more individuals.
  2. Ensure your organization is setting a tone for inclusion
  3. Engage in self-reflection to become better (see Episode 14)

Next week

Serious Soft Skills will celebrate its first anniversary with a look at the last year, what’s coming up for us  in the new year and a celebration.

Mike Shelah, an expert and early advocate for LinkedIn’s ability to connect people for business, shares his wisdom on LinkedIn, networking and soft skills in this episode of the Serious Soft Skills podcast.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham are joined by Mike Shelah, head of Shelah Consulting (http://mikeshelah.com), for a discussion of the following:

How to use LinkedIn to make quality connections
What not to do on LinkedIn
How to gain permission to ask
Mike’s formula for using LinkedIn effectively
What soft skills come into play
Examples of good networking
Tips for being a better networker

Also, Mike talks about a side project, Pathfinders for Autism (http://pathfindersforautism.org), where he serves as a board member and helps families like his own who have children who have autism.

Next week

We look at cultural awareness and why its importance only grows in our current workplace. New episodes every Wednesday.

Our actions usually align with our ethics, and people with good ethics tend to be trusted and respected more than those whose ethical decision making is questionable. We are going to look at the ethical implications of decisions we make in this week’s episode of the Serious Soft Skills podcast.

Among the topics cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss are:

  • A definition of ethics and how it applies to work
    The value of virtue
    How questionable ethics can erode trust of team members
    Questioning cripples progress
    The societal effect on our ethics
    Are ethics black and white?
    The Golden Rule
    Short-term versus long-term benefits and how they relate to ethics
    The personal nature of ethics
    How our ethics set a tone for an organization

Tips for Good Ethics at Work
1. Don’t be deceived by short-term benefits
2. Matching your ethics to your organization’s ethics

A good book on ethical decision-making, The Power of Ethical Management by Ken Blanchard and Norman Vincent Peale, with three guiding questions on ethics
1. Is it legal?
2. Is it balanced?
3. How will it make me feel about myself?  Unethical acts erode self-esteem.

Next week

We will talk to Mike Shelah, an expert at LinkedIn on how soft skills play into that social media platform, as well as networking in general. New episodes come out every Wednesday.

We always hear how important a positive attitude is, but why and how do we ensure we have a positive attitude. We’ll tackle how to maintain a positive attitude in this episode of the Serious Soft Skills Podcast.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham explore a variety of topics related to the soft skill of having positive attitude.

Among the topics they address are:

  • What if we bring a negative attitude to a situation
  • The negative effects of creating a hero among teams
  • “Faking it until you make it”
  • Pushing forward despite stumbles
  • Moving past problems
  • Confidence in myself and my team
  • Finding ways to overcome challenges
  • Being honest and open and how to leads to trust among team members
  • How sparks and cobbled together ideas can fuel better outcomes
  • Naysayers never get promoted
  • Not falling into the unrealistic and non-optimistic perspective

Tips for keeping or restoring your positive attitude

1. Set realistic goals and recognize when you achieve them
2. Don’t let setbacks dig into you
3. Be grateful – we all need others to succeed
4. Smile
5. Sleep well and eat well
6. Laugh at yourself
7. Populate your life with positive people
8. Don’t get stuck in the weeds

Next week

We will look at the complicated soft skills of understanding the ethical implications of our decisions.

The soft skill of working independently, or with minimal supervision, fosters better teams and trust, two keys to success in any organization. People who can model this soft skill position themselves for greater career opportunities.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham, authors of The 55 Soft Skills That Guide Employee and Organizational Success, talk about a variety of aspects of this soft skill, including:

  • Letting go of micromanagement
  • The idea of ownership of projects and knowing when to share a project or take it to completion ourselves
  • Strategies for ensuring independence and appropriate intervention
  • The tug-pf-war between independence and either delegating or drawing on others
  • Independence varies by role and by supervisory style
  • Where entrepreneurs can overcome inherent independence to ensure greater success
  • The power of proper delegation
  • How we can take monkeys and push them away to get work done
  • Working with minimal supervision
  • How to ensure that minimal supervision yields maximum results
  • How more meetings may enable greater employee independence

Does your organization or team need help in putting soft skills to work for them? We want to help you. We do webinars and workshops, online, on the phone and in person, to help teams become more successful. If you or someone you know could use our help, contact us at podcast@serioussoftskills.com today. Or call 937-SKILLS5.

Next week

Next week, we will explore the soft skill of being able to work under pressure. Relax, we will make it easy. Look for new episodes every Wednesday.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham explore the soft skills of adapting knowledge to new situations, which seems easy enough. But many people struggle with what it means and how it helps build teams and careers.

Among the topics they discuss are:

  • How companies are relying more on people who can apply knowledge to solve new problems
  • Why this soft skill is so important to company growth
  • What other soft skills are included in this ability
  • Employers want people with new ideas, not the same old perspectives they already have
  • How successfully applying it can make someone a team leader, intentionally or unintentionally
  • Why compensation and opportunity follow good adapters
  • An example of adapting to the new situation of tariffs on products coming from China
  • A five-step process for applying knowledge to new situations
  • We can draw on others’ experiences to help us adapt to new situations
  • How multiple sourcing can help us find better solutions
  • Drawing on relationships and those we trust

Next week

We will explore the soft skill of being able to work independently or with minimal supervision.

We aren’t talking about writing the Great American Novel, but rather how to draw on the powerful aspects of storytelling to explain our work and our ideas so we connect emotionally with any audience.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham explore this important aspect of success, looking at it helps us at interviews, in meetings and when working with any other group. Storytelling can work in any situation where we talk about our work.

Among the topics they cover in this episode of the Serious Soft Skills podcast are:

  • Defining how storytelling fits into explaining ourselves
  • Making an idea “sticky”
  • How widely this approach can be used
  • The value of storytelling in a meeting as simple as a daily or weekly status meeting
  • The right preparation for storytelling to succeed
  • Understanding our audience’s needs
  • Why less is more in some cases and why more can be valuable at other times
  • Self-editing our stories to meet specific needs
  • Why writing the story out in advance or developing great themes and plot lines won’t work
  • Building the story from two or three key elements or takeaway you want the audience to learn from your story
  • Planting words to make things sticky
  • Sticky versus stinky
  • How to prepare for an interview to ensure you’re sticky
  • Making experiences become sticky through storytelling
  • Developing an emotional connection
  • Real examples of how storytelling can make us look better to employers and others
  • How anecdotes and stories about what you do in a job can help others understand the value you can bring to their organization
  • Going from a worker to a worker who did important work
  • Finding stories to explain how our skills can be transferrable