They it’s not what you know, but who you know. We are going to discuss that theory and much more as we look at why relationships are at the core of all business these days and how our ability to manage them is paramount if we are going to be successful in practically any job.

In today’s episode, cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss:

  • How changes in the work world necessitate building more relationships
  • How to manage relationships
  • Examples of well managed and poorly managed relationships
  • The benefits of managing relationships with workers, former colleagues, bosses and others

Here are some hints for better managing business relationships:

  • Make amends. If you have a bad business relationship, fix it. Now.
  • Scroll through your phone contacts every week or two. I sometimes see someone’s contact information that I haven’t talked to and have called or emailed them right away. Everything happens for a reason.
  • Find beneficial ways to interact. I like to send articles to people that I think they might find valuable. They seem to like it. It shows I am thinking of them, and it’s easy enough to send an article.
  • Just say hey. Sometimes it’s great to hear from someone who you haven’t heard from in a while. I had a former coworker who I helped mentor contact me recently out of the blue. She told me she missed “my first mentor.” It made my day.
  • Use LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. It allows me to know what other people are up to, to be able to contact them when they change jobs or locations and it’s all free. I like to see who is celebrating birthdays, job anniversaries or whatever else. I respond often, and it pays off. Ten minutes in the morning or evening can yield great fruit with LinkedIn, or do it every Sunday night.
  • Be grateful. If all else fails, contact someone at least once a week who has had a profound effect on your career and tell him or her that. Believe me, if that’s where the conversation starts, it will end much better – for both of you.

Have you joined The Soft Skills Revolution at The Soft Skills Revolution? Why not? 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

Next week, we will tackle another soft skill. New episodes come out each Wednesday. Until next week, thanks for listening, good day and good soft skills.

 

 

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

Have you joined The Soft Skills Revolution?

In this episode we launch The Soft Skills Revolution. We discuss why it matters, what it means and how you can help.

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

*Why the soft skills revolution must occur

*How a successful revolution would change the workplace.

Join the revolution at TheSoftSkillsRevolution.com.

Next week

Why hiring is all wrong and what soft skills could do to help it. 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.

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.

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

Next week

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

Next week

We will dig into another of the 55 soft skills or how to apply one of them to help you in your career.

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.

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.