Technical skills are required to do our day-to-day jobs. We could be plumbers, hairdressers, lawyers, teachers, nurses etc., and we may have gone to an educational institution to build on the technical skills required to do our jobs.
Soft skills are also very important when it comes to doing our work. This includes skills such as communication, negotiation etc., which help us work with other people.
There is another type of skill on which not much focus is provided at school or in tertiary education. This set of skills is called “Inner Skills”. Inner skills are about our inner world – about emotions and feelings, about being mindful of what we think and how we act, being resilient etc.. How does it make us feel if we give ourselves a pat on the back for a job well done? It is possible and we need to appreciate ourselves more often than we do, rather than looking for appreciation from an external source such as a manager, or a friend.
Why is it important to build inner skills?
While technical and soft skills help us earn our living, without inner skills, we will not be able to live healthy and happy lives. Without a healthy and happy personal life, work life suffers.
Being a people leader, I used to emphasise on technical and soft skills. I discovered that this is not enough, particularly when working with newly formed teams. It is important for organisations – leaders and managers alike to help their employees get in touch with their inner skills. Here are a few ways to kick start your team on their gratitude journey, which for me is the most important inner skill. The more we are grateful for what we have, the happier we can feel.
1. Write a thank you/ well done note to yourself about one thing that has been accomplished for the day.
2. Get your team to write thank you notes to each other on a regular basis. Appreciate something that another person has done for you. This increases trust between team members and they open up to each other, resulting in a more cohesive team.
3. Spend some time as a team helping someone who needs you. This could be physical work to clean up an area of the office that has been neglected or supporting another team who need to get to their KPI. Your team could take on some of the work or you could support the other team in their efforts by supplying them with coffee/tea/snacks to keep them motivated. Doing something for another without any expectation is a great way for individuals and teams to start valuing each other more.
4. Volunteer as a team with a charity that needs you. This shows the gratitude that you have for everything in your life and how much you are able to give others who are less fortunate than you.
I would love to hear from you on how your team builds their inner skills.
Late last year, I was on a flight from Port Macquarie to Sydney. I was eager to return home. The flight was delayed by over an hour. After the wait in the terminal at Port Macquarie, I got on the plane with the other travellers and settled myself down into a window seat. I was hoping for some quiet time and wanted to read on the short flight home.
About ten minutes after I was seated, a few people who seemed to be co-workers boarded the flight. One of them sat beside me. He was quite boisterous and was having a loud conversation with his colleague who was across the aisle. The airhostess also joined in. I sat back thinking there goes my quiet time.
In a few minutes, I saw the man next to me fiddling with his earphones. Soon after I heard music. Anyway, I thought my neighbour would turn down the music. Kept waiting and it did not happen. I tapped him and asked him to turn down the music. He pointed to the speakers overhead and said the music is not from his phone but from the speakers. It was an AHA moment.
How did I handle this situation, you may be wondering. Well, I apologised to the guy. Then I laughed and said what a good story this is to share with friends and laugh!
I did share this anecdote with some friends that I met the next day and we all laughed.
A very important lesson that I learnt that day - to not be judgemental. Just because the man was conversing loudly, I assumed he also played the loud music and was not courteous to his fellow passengers. On the contrary, he seemed like a nice person once I stopped judging him.
Let’s give others a chance to be who they are. Let’s not judge others. Let’s not even judge ourselves because we all do what we do with the knowledge that we have at any given point in time.