How To Live a No-Regrets Life: Developing Soft Skills for Relational Integrity
Do we really understand the cost of unhealthy relationships and how important the soft skills of leadership are in both our personal and work lives?
There is an old joke that I remember from my university days. How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb?
The answer is, “just one, but the lightbulb has to really want to change”. I have kept this joke in my repertoire of dad jokes, much to the embarrassment of my children.
I believe there is a truth hidden in this joke that applies to a lot of life. The truth is that many things do not change, because there is no desire to change. I spend much of my time as a coach helping people develop in the “Soft Skills” of leadership.
According to Lexico.com soft skills are “Personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people”. (www.lexico.com)
As I was recently pondering the question, why it is so hard to teach the soft-skills to individuals and teams, it made me think of the joke. The answer to the question I was asking was that most of the time people do not really care to change or care enough for the people around them to grow in their knowledge of and proficiencies in the soft skills.
As Judith Glaser, a distant mentor in my constellation of mentors would say, people, are too stuck in an “addiction to being right. mindset” (Glaser, 2016). Their desire is to make things better for the moment, but really do not desire to change to make things better for the long haul.
While the soft skills are hard to define and even harder to see at times, it does not take much study or research to see that many relationships and organizations suffer greatly due to a lack of well developed soft skills.
Every one of us can think of a time when we were hurt or struggled in a relationship or in our position on a team because of the lack of these skills on the part of some or most people on the team. We can probably even see a time when we caused hurt or struggles due to our lack of attention to these softer skills.
These skills, like any, come much easier to some than to others. I am often dumbfounded to see the inability for some to see the huge holes in their soft skills set.
The good news is that these skills can be learned, and they can be honed. The seemingly bad news is that it is not the desire of many to do much about this in their own lives. They expect others to work on these areas, but only give lip service to their own needs to improve in the same arenas.
I have a deep-held belief that the development of soft skills can be one of the greatest factors in our living a “no-regrets” life in our personal and professional worlds. Let me explain.
When I work with individuals whether leaders or not, often the greatest areas of regrets I come across have to do with relationships. I often hear people talk about previous places of employment and they say that they wish they would have dealt with a co-worker differently. They wish they would have been able to mend the relationship, get over hurt, or have learned to better communicate with the person.
In our personal lives quite often the greatest area of regret is in the area of relationships as well. We hurt over broken or lost connections with loved ones, but very few people seriously consider the ways in which they could improve on their soft skills to make things better.
I have done a lot of marriage and family counselling through the years, and the vast majority of the real issues could have been alleviated by each person developing the ability to see the holes in their soft skill set and desiring to fill those holes. Don’t miss that last part, we need more than knowledge, we need desire.
Now that I have stated that so simply, let me say that I do understand that growth and results in these areas is hard work, and it can be a slow and arduous journey. Yet, with a desire, a plan, and a capable guide one can move down the path on that journey.
In my coaching of leaders over the years, I have focused on the idea of Relational Integrity for Healthy Leaders and Teams™. Through this intentional focusing on the soft skills of emotional intelligence, conversational intelligence, organizational intelligence among other soft skills I have been able to help leaders develop in an ever-deepening understanding of self and others that have led them to living with diminished regrets and increased joy in the workplace and in their personal lives.
The Relational Integrity™ funnel that I have created to help in this journey, along with the coaching that I provide for my clients has helped them lead healthier, more fulfilled lives both personally and professionally.
It is my desire to see leaders and teams see increased growth, results and ultimately joy through increased Relational Integrity. Even though you can’t change other people deeply developed soft skills can give you the resiliency to traverse the waters of relationships in a way that will still create healthier connections.
So let us desire to be changed!
Glaser, Judith E. Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results. Bibliomotion, 2016.
“Soft Skills: Meaning of Soft Skills by Lexico.” Lexico Dictionaries | English, Lexico Dictionaries, www.lexico.com/definition/soft_skills.