In today’s competitive environment, it is not enough to be the best in your field intellectually, competency is only half of what you need to climb the ladder of success. The other half is the softer side of you. It is the part of you that will be liked, admired, trusted and remembered….. Carole Nicola Ides.
The conversation about unemployment has always been a topic on the lips of almost everybody, it is all over the news around the World; it is a major issue that I believe it is only second to the Corona virus on the most talked about topics list. Unavailability of job opportunities are prevalent at the moment, especially in a place like Nigeria, so getting fired is something everyone should avoid now.
Recently, I got a call from an old classmate who wanted to know if I knew any available jobs. The emphasis is on ANY available. He got laid off from his place of work and needed something urgent to hold body and soul together.
Losing his job got me thinking about so many things for a few days after I got the news, I remembered having a conversation with a fellow I met via the medium; she was also a big fan of my favourite writer, Chinua Achebe. We talked about how things changed in the book Things Fall Apart, a great man used to be characterized as someone who had the physical prowess; a warrior who would defend his people, lead them to wars against the other villages and come back with the head of the next village’s leader or the hunter who captures the fattest wild animal in the forest. These used to be the characteristics of the man who would get the job done, using power to achieve results.
However, since then, a lot of things have changed; over the years, using physical powers doesn’t count anymore. Now you get results by using your head, solutions are brought about by thinking. Been physical doesn’t seem to put much food on the table these days hence people go to school, get the bachelors, do their masters and more popular these days, add the doctorate.
The guy who lost his job had a lot of certifications; project management, Health and safety, etc. he knew his job, he was by far most suitable for the job, he was everything the employer needed in an employee. So what got him out on his ear?
My friend was an extraordinary guy with vast construction knowledge, because of his enormous contributions to the company in the Engineering department, producing all the engineering designs, the company promoted him to the position of a Project Manager to oversee an important project the company was handling. He had people reporting to him now; he had to work and coordinate with team members and report to the project board. In his former position, he was a team member; he had to report to the project manager, so it was an enormous challenge and also presented an opportunity to him.
He got his job underway, delegated the works to every team member, shared roles and responsibilities, but then all wasn’t going as expected. Team members complained a lot, he was assigning too much to them or was not giving as per their competencies, everything was going helter-skelter. Team members were not happy and Board members were not satisfied with the work progress. The end looked like a catastrophe. When the Board could not endure the chaos anymore, they brought in a new guy to replace him as the Project Manager; to clean up the mess he had created and steady the ship. They reassigned my guy to the Engineering department to continue with his initial Design duties. He didn’t appreciate the reassignment as he saw it as a demotion and started acting up at work, lost concentration until the company cut him loose. So what exactly was wrong with my guy?
The answer is obvious; he was technical. He had all the certifications, they call these Hard skills, but he was not good at managing people. He couldn’t communicate effectively, he lacked the most important thing that keeps people in jobs, he lacked Soft skills.
It is said that people rise because of Hard skills and fall because of lack of Soft Skills in the corporate world. So Over the past few weeks, I have done some research on the relevance and importance of Soft skills. In this series, I will discuss these Soft skills, why we all need to learn and master them, the enormous gains of having these skills.
So let us keep staying safe; wash hands, wear face masks as we stay together to learn Soft work.