In 2016 a group of researchers from Harvard University investigated previous findings from earlier work done by Charles R Mann in 1918[1] where he concluded the following about the effectiveness of management:

85% of effective managerial and leadership success comes from having well-developed soft and people skills, and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge.

And what were the important soft skills that were the most important:

  1. Leadership
  2. Collaboration
  3. Communication
  4. Time management

Let’s fast-forward to 2018 and the age of robots and AI and the relevance of soft skills. All we need to do is gaze around the world around us: just about every form of human endeavour has become so tremendously complex and technologically advanced yet it is not robots that will organisations to survive but people with skills and ambition and the motivation and ability to work harmoniously with others – All the things AI and robots cannot do – yet.

The Automation Readiness Index, a report created by The Economist Intelligence Unit, assesses how well-prepared 25 countries are for the challenges and opportunities of intelligent automation. Maybe unsurprisingly, it shows that most countries are not ready for the automation revolution.

According to the study, education and training should be at the centre of long-term strategies to deal with the challenges that automation brings. More specifically, people should be trained to become adaptable learners who can trade on those skills which computers lack: soft skills. 

(https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-get-your-employees-ready-world-full-robots-thomas-buus-madsen/)

LinkedIn recently surveyed 2,000 business leaders and asked them which soft skills they’d most like to see their employees learn.

Here’s what they listed as the most in-demand skills soft skills:

  1. Leadership
  2. Collaboration
  3. Communication
  4. Time management

Nothing much has changed in 100 years!

“As long as not every single human is replaced by a robot, we’ll need good managers who are able to cope with change and the constantly evolving workplace. More efficient processes will require more efficient collaboration and communication, and time will be even more at a premium”

Training for Survival

I have been involved in training managers for almost 30 years and am always amazed at how I struggle to convince training executives, on the fact that they should spend at least 85% of their budget on soft skills development. I have heard every excuse in the book: “no time”; “no money”, “end of the year”; “restructuring” (that’s a perennial favourite) etc.

It is training for survival. Disruption and technology are changing the nature of many types of businesses that are taken for granted. Taking the future for granted and apathy are the two biggest risks in business today – ask Toys r Us, department store formats, Edgars, Checkers, OK Bazaars (remember them); think of the relevance of DSTV in 5 years’ time; metered taxis, cashiers in your supermarket in the next decade? Landline telephones?

Do your managers have the soft skills to take you through the turbulent years ahead?

Be the Manager You Need to Be

85% of all the Soft Skills you need in one Online package:

  1.   Be Clear (The Basics of Communication)
  2.   Be Effective (Interpersonal Skills to Build Positive Workplace Relationships)
  3.   Be Productive (Effective Management Skills)
  4.   Be Inspiring (The Manager as Leader as Source of Inspiration)
  5.   Be Motivational (The Fundamentals of Motivation)
  6.   Be Savvy (How to Lead with Emotional Intelligence)

Contact Larry Lincoln on 083 284 3363 or at llincoln@tfnd.co.za

 

[1] Mann, RC. 1918. A Study of Engineering, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 11.