Friday, November 23, 2012

The Embrace of Soft Skills


 Recently I wrote about the embrace of soft skills in a post called Top 5 to 7 Skills for Next 10 Years.  Within soft skills, I focused especially on the most important emotional intelligence competencies according to Daniel Goleman:
  1. Internal Standards of performance and excellence
  2. The ability to influence and persuade
  3. The ability to recognize patterns in human interaction.
That seemed like a reasonable start at WHAT we need to be good at.

Since then, I’ve been noodling on the question of HOW do you increase these skills. Recently, I  realized that any tool used to assess “types”, whether HBDI or MBTI or Kolbe, not only helps us understand our own uniqueness but also helps us recognize patterns in human interaction..... giving us more ability to influence and persuade.

HBDI asserts that everyone has a whole brain that includes rational, experimental, relational and practical thinking style quadrants and that each person has preferences about which thinking style to use when.  These preferences show up in patterns of speech, body language and what types of language a person is most receptive to.  HBDI has a complete overview.

For our purposes, one example will do.  If the pattern you observe in a person is a matter of fact tone of voice, use of facts to illustrate points and erect posture, you can try out an assumption that the person prefers the practical brain quadrant and prefers facts.  As a result, to stay in rapport with that person and have the best chance of influence, you (and I) will need to at least start your conversation with facts.

So now, if someone were to ask me, “How do I improve my ability to recognize patterns in human interaction?” I can at least tell them a start would be to know your own preferences according to some framework (HBDI, MBTI, Kolbe or other) and be able to guess and assess what other’s might be and approach them in that channel.

What’s your channel?

What’s the most fun you’ve had working generatively with another person through matching their channel?

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