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How soft skills can drive hard results

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in Leaders & Managers,Team Building

The Wall Street Journal was facing a disruptive, but highly strategic, initiative. Joanne Lipman would be the executive to lead the charge, despite the fact that many of the senior staff and all the board members outranked her.

How did she keep everyone motivated and accountable throughout such a disruptive change?

“After I nagged them,” Lipman says, “I made sure to shower them with love.”

Lipman “loved” that everyone had their own ideas, all of which needed to be heard. She “loved” piecing together all the priorities and personalities. She “loved” giving credit to others, so they could all see the valuable work leading to the project’s success. And she “loved” projects that involved building consensus.

Could all that love be for real?

Absolutely. Appreciating team members is one of the soft skills that can drive the hard results you want.

An outside consultant, who watched Lipman’s performance over the next several months, says, “People really responded to her. She got more cooperation and a greater willingness to pitch in and solve problems. It was amazing.”

Lesson: Don’t underestimate the power of appreciation.

— Adapted from The Reinventors, Jason Jennings, The Penguin Group.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Maree Harris October 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm

I am a Soft Skills Specialist, helping people develop and enhance their Personal Leadership and Soft Skills. I get flack from some people about the use of the words “soft skills”. They say it deprofessionalises my expertise. Yet when I read an article like this and see how empowering soft skills can be in organisations, how they, in fact, are responsible for hard results, I feel vindicated. More and more major organisations like The Wall Street Journal are recognising that the time has come to take soft skills seriously. This is a great article in affirming that.


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