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
- Avoid doing anything that could marginalizing one or more individuals.
- Ensure your organization is setting a tone for inclusion
- Engage in self-reflection to become better (see Episode 14)
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.
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.
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
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
We will look at the complicated soft skills of understanding the ethical implications of our decisions.
Yes, it’s shameless self-promotion, but someone has to do it. And Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham finally celebrate the long-awaited release of the paperback version of The 55 Soft Skills That Guide Employee and Organizational Success and explain how reading it will help anyone who works.
Among the topics they discuss in this short episode are:
- How they came up with all 55 soft skills
- Their surprise at how many soft skills employees use
- The logic of the book
- Where employees and leaders can benefit from reading the book
- How to get the book
Want to buy our book, The 55 Soft Skills That Guide Employee and Organizational Success? Visit Amazon.
We will go back to our list of 55 soft skills to explain how another one of them works and why it matters in the workplace.
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 email@example.com today. Or call 937-SKILLS5.
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
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
People think that being a good multi-tasker, something research says is impossible, means you are able to manage multiple projects. Most employees need to be able to manage different projects at the same time, meeting deadlines and working with others, to be effective.
Among the many topics Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham cover in this important episode on an often-overlooked soft skill are:
- Differences between multi-tasking and managing multiple projects
- Why we seem to believe multi-tasking works
- Technology’s role in this soft skill
- Are we using our time more effectively?
- How to get ahead of multiple projects
- What to do when things are not being well managed
- Why looking at the Big Picture too much hurts being able to manage multiple projects.
- A real example of managing a project to ensure it can be managed with other projects
- How computers switch better than humans
- Blocking out your day to ensure projects are managed well
- More tips for ensuring you can juggle multiple projects
- The other soft skills incorporated into managing multiple projects
- Addressing the fact that things may go wrong once in a while
We will be looking at the role of storytelling. While not a soft skill, storytelling plays a huge role in being effective in a job search and in being successful in work situations.
Being responsive is a soft skill that can spark creativity, trust and innovation in teams big and small. Learn how and why in this week’s episode of Serious Soft Skills.
Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham explain how the soft skill of being responsive sets teams up to succeed.
Among the topics they discuss in this episode:
- Being responsive from a supply chain perspective
- How the best responses are complete, accurate and timely answers
- Realistic responses and how they improve our work experience
- When emails actually hurt, not help, responsiveness
- How being unresponsive can hurt teams and careers
- Why being responsive is a core issue for any successful employee
- Getting back quickly isn’t enough. It’s the value of the response.
- Phone calls and face-to-face meetings accelerate responsiveness
We will dig into another of the 55 soft skills or how to apply one of them to help you in your career.