James Caan on the Importance of Soft Skills

The message is clear. Effective Management requires Soft Skills

James Caan featured in a discussion about Productivity on the Victoria Derbyshire show on 1st July – the discussion was about why the UK lagged behind other European countries and the States in Productivity.

He said something very revealing – he feels that one of the reasons is the lack of soft skills in the workplace. This view is overwhelmingly backed up by research.

The effect CEO’s, Managers and Business Owners can have on company morale can be devastating if their communications cause resentment, dis-empowerment and a feeling within staff that they’re simply not being treated as human beings or being listened to.

An attitude of “I’m the boss, get on with it” is absurd – How many good ideas, opportunities to improve productivity and create new products or services are being lost because managers won’t listen and feel they have the monopoly on good ideas?

There seems to be a popular expression going around – “Get over it” – as exemplified by Siobhan Sharpe in W1A. 

Actually human beings don’t “get over it” – badly treated staff will under-perform, not because they want to, but because energy is being used up in the negative emotional reactions caused in them by managers.

One of the most ridiculous things we’ve heard recently is that people are paid to accept certain levels of stress – and the higher the level of pay, the higher the level of stress needs to be endured – stress causes under-performance, so this view implies that the higher people are paid, the more under-performing they’ll be.

Psychologically, one also needs to ask why managers behave that way – what is it in them that turns them into un-empathic human beings? The minute someone walks through the office door, they’re regarded as a resource rather than a human being.
 

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