Hardwired Soft Skills

Subway to work

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We see you, working hard, using your Agile methodologies. Maybe it’s full on project management systems? Either way, you need to be sure you are on top of every task done by every member of every direct and indirect report in your company. Not to mention your need to stay on top of consultants and third parties who are located all over the world. We know the type of attention to detail that is required of you day in and day out. The buck stops and starts with you.


Well, most of that is true, with one huge exception. Teamwork makes the dream work. Schedules be damned, your employees can’t be as productive  if you they aren’t encouraged to be their authentic selves. The key is that the culture internally is hardwired to support individuality.


We all know that diversity is good, because it broadens our horizons to what is possible. However, culture, by definition, causes tension between identity and diversity. How can we be individual if we need to fit in? Notice how hardwired office culture impacts each of your employees differently, because it does. Who’s voice is being left out because of office place dynamics?


As Employee Relationship Management Systems become more affordable, they also put more pressure on HR departments. Many organizations aren’t hardwired to support a data analytics program concentrated on their employees. Many contract with consultants, and/or engage in cultural assessments, which provide immediate feedback that must be acted on once consultants leave.


In theory, there are many ways to assess your relationship with employees. Regular weekly check-ins, quarterly workshops, employee or peer reviews, or even facilitated discussion. These are all great tools, but no single event or moment with individuals will define your relationships. Our work together is a series of moments that accumulate over time. The habits that we form create our office cultures.

woman at desk

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash


As a manager  you have the ability to create the space where ideas are given consideration and individual input is respected. We argue this requires a person-centered approach. You don’t need to shy away from the difficult conversations without professional help when soft skills are hardwired. In fact, you can embrace difficulty. If we model active listening, mistake making and asking for help, everyone is allowed to be human. Humans accomplish amazing things together.


In our opinion, it is also important to cultivate relationships outside of a project or relationship management software solution or “classroom” environment. For example, a kinesthetic approach allows us to get out of our heads and into our bodies- to show (not tell) that our relationships with our employees matter.


When we support each other with more than our words, but with our actions, we see the biggest results. Help him turn that knob, show her the outcomes from her input, and help them see their career trajectory. More important than checking off your to-do lists, is showing your team you can support them. Use your tools, but hardwire the right habits first. (ix)plore Lab can help.

It all begins with a conversation. We believe that if we are training our clients to be person-centered, it’s imperative that we do the same. That’s why we always put our clients first.

Ready to begin? Get in touch!   

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