I met with a CEO who had a problem with one of his lieutenants.
The guy was super smart.
Excellent at the technical aspects of his job.
But he was near impossible for others to work with.
Negative mindset. One upping teammates. Seeking more leadership without first proving his performance.
The CEO didn’t know how to manage him, so he just kept rambling on about developing his “soft skills.”
“What Soft Skills?”
I asked him.
“What do you mean by that?”
He looked at me blankly, “You know, those soft skills.”
And maybe this sounds strange to some people but I haven’t heard that term in years.
I’ve certainly never used it in the context of my work.
I do remember back in the day people using that phrase.
But no-one whose serious about winning thinks about skills that way.
When you think about it, it’s a strange phrase, right?
Are the skills themselves “soft” in some way?
We diminish them as though they are.
Like they’re skills that don’t really matter, that perhaps maybe you might want to learn.
Yet, when you look at what “soft skills” actually are, you see they’re the…
The Most Hardcore Skills For Winning!
Teamwork, so on.
The so-called hard skills like using Excel or programming Python are certainly valuable at more junior levels.
But obviously it’s the soft skills that matter most for leaders driving more winning.
Calling Soft Makes Hard To Learn
See, when we call these soft skills…
Now you’re in the realms of—
Business school talk.
Leadership kum ba yah.
And other “philosophies.”
Sure, there’s a place in our world for people who like to talk about such topics.
Go to leadership seminars.
Listen to podcasts, or what not.
But there’s no space in my schedule for all that talk.
What’s there to talk about?
When you can be developing the skills you need to win!
Get It Done
See, the CEO I was meeting had been thinking a lot about soft skills.
Talking to so-called coaches.
Running workshops and having a leadership initiative.
Talking about personality profiles, practicing trust falls, and all that stuff.
He wondered why all that had been failing.
Again, sure, there’s a time and place for all that for people who want to feel good talking about leadership.
But that’s very different to actually leading people to change.
And what I began to see was he was distracting himself with all that talk because he himself was avoiding developing the hardcore soft skills of leading his team.
Unwilling to provide direct feedback.
Unable to actually help his lieutenant get better.
“How Do You Actually Do It?”
He wanted to know.
I didn’t have time for all that talk.
So I sent him this Masterclass for Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.
And told him that if he’s serious about actually developing hardcore skills and developing a winning team…
That it might be worth getting back together and actually doing it.
Here again is track 1 of the Masterclass for Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: