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.

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.

Next week

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.

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

The decision on when to escalate a situation to a boss or supervisor is an important one, for which rules are rarely clear.  In today’s episode, cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham are going to explain this soft skill and how and when we should be escalating a situation to a higher-up, and why successfully using this soft skill can help an organization’s culture and trust.

Porterfield and Graham explore the idea of escalating situations from the manager and employee perspective and how this soft skill really comes down to determining the right people to provide the right information to at the right time.

Among the topics they discuss are:

  • Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott, and its application to escalating a situation
  • Two sides of the coin: one where the situation does not escalate and the other where escalation occurs
  • Our natural desire to avoid problems
  • Why managers need to know about problems early
  • The nuance of determining when to escalate a situation and when to handle things on their own
  • Determining when escalation should occur: immediately or at the next update
  • Why creating a list of when to escalate can never work
  • How the unique nature of each organization makes it impossible to determine exactly when to escalate
  • Where accepting criticism, another soft skill, fits into being able to escalate
  • Helping a boss to avoid problems later
  • A powerful example of when not escalating hurt a leader
  • When the ability to escalate helps build a stronger organizational culture with transparency
  • The responsibility that everyone in an organization has to ensure proper escalation
  • How escalation when properly handled creates confidence in an organization and builds trust

Next week

We will explore another soft skill, being responsive, in an episode to be released next Wednesday.

Being focused on the client, whoever that is — both internal and external to the organization — is a critical component of any successful business and a soft skill that we need to understand and incorporate into any business.

Co-hosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham explore client focus from two different perspectives — one looking at external customers and the other looking at internal customers.

Among the topics they address:

  • What threats come to from poor customer service
  • How customer service leads to strengthening relationships
  • How language plays into good customer service
  • Sour experiences foretelling of bad reputations
  • Failing to think through what matters to the customers, even if it conflicts with what employees want
  • Collaboration versus siloing as customer service problems
  • Setting shared objectives to deal with a strong client focus
  • Why companies should be looking more closely at external and internal clients
  • Exploring what clients truly need from the organization and how to deliver it
  • Why focus is a key

Next week

We will be exploring the soft skill of being mature, which isn’t about being experienced. They’ll figure it out — or at least attempt to next week on the Serious Soft Skills podcast.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham will tackle the soft skill of complying with standards. Sounds boring, right? Well, they’re going to make it interesting. We promise.

Among the topics they will discuss this week are:

  • Why complying with standards is a soft skill
  • The difference between internal and external standards
  • Written and unwritten standards
  • How the subprime mortgage industry breaking key rules caused a financial collapse
  • When standards need to be challenged or questioned
  • How time can require the need to evaluate old standards
  • When to question standards
  • The expectations that organizations have about complying with standards
  • How organizational culture can help with complying with standards

Next week

We will be talking about an important soft skill that forms a foundation for lots of organizational success: client focus.

Our latest Serious Soft Skills Podcast looks at how paying attention to details can help an individual, the team and the organization. But unfortunately, most of us struggle with this important soft skill. Learn why it matters and how to do it better in this episode of Serious Soft Skills.


Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham explore the many important benefits of paying attention to details.

Among the topics they cover:

  • Who benefits from our attention to detail
  • What happens when we don’t pay attention to details
  • How to pay attention to details more effectively
  • Eight hints for better paying attention to details

Next week

The Serious Soft Skills Podcast will explain how complying with standards makes the soft skills list.

Co-hosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham talk about setting goals and prioritizing, which together make an important soft skills for managers, leaders and any employee.

Setting goals, as in organizing and prioritizing your work, is critical for team success. To make sure everyone is working toward the same overall goal, we need to assign tasks. Those tasks have to be completed on time or else others will be waiting.

Among the topics they address:

  • Examples of where setting goals and prioritizing are critical to achieving results.
  • How most of us have deadlines each day, week or month.
  • Why these goals have to be in sync
  • Tips for setting goals
  • Being SMART

We can set our own priorities in a day, evaluating what needs to be done, what others might need from us, what we need from others. The best employees are updating their priorities as situations change throughout the day. They don’t write a list in pen, but rather in pencil, with an eraser.

Good leaders and managers set realistic priorities and goals for their staff, ideally with their consent and buy-in. Rather than telling people what to do, they work with people to align personal and organizational goals to be the same. This shared vision can be powerful, especially when things go wrong. And they will.

No matter how much we prioritize, things go wrong. How we deal with it — by readjusting — can make or break us and our organizations.

Responding to listeners questions the co-hosts explain why people don’t talk much about soft skills and how often we call on our soft skills, often without even being aware of it.

Co-hosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham answer questions about soft skills from some of their listeners in this episode.

Among the topics they discuss:

  • How soft skills tend to be overlooked
  • Why people fail to recognize the role of soft skills
  • How combining soft skills with technical skills makes employees and organizations better

Don’t miss our free ebook offer for our ebook, The 55 Soft Skills that Guide Employee and Organizational Success, using a special coupon code that we mention in the middle of this episode.

Next Week

We will be exploring the soft skill of adapting to change and prioritizing and how it helps people be more successful in their jobs.