When was the last time you heard someone in a leadership position put emphasis on getting better at soft skills? Last week? Last month? This morning?

There isn’t a problem with learning soft skills. However, the problem lies in naming them soft skills.

‘Soft’ often implies weakness. People say things like, “He’s gone soft.” Or “She’s just a softie.” Or “He’s soft around the middle.” 

The word ‘soft’ also conjures images of someone who is malleable, easily manipulated, and squishy. For skills that are so vital in today’s organizational culture, the term ‘soft skills’ isn’t cutting it. 

What if we thought of them as Relationship and Interpersonal Skill Essentials instead? R.I.S.E.

R.I.S.E. is easy to remember and speaks more about the importance of the skills necessary to create a connected and impactful environment where people feel listened to, supported, seen, and heard. 

Leaders need to be able to show the relationship and interpersonal skill essentials of empathy, concern, and understanding. They need to be much better at listening and learning people’s stories.

Empathetic leaders inspire their people to work to their highest potential and motivate them to stay with their companies. And yet, recruiters from other companies are coming for your people. They’re looking for people who might be unhappy where they’re at, and recruiters going to try and entice your good people to go somewhere else. 

Do you know what they’re selling? 

Cultures where people can be part of the solution, where they’re included. There’s such a high cost to losing good, quality employees. Is that what you want? Can you afford to lose good people? 

Are your leaders, managers, and supervisors being intentional about motivating good people to stay with your organization? Are they helping them to thrive and become the rock stars you know they can become?

Start by talking less about ‘soft skills’ and more about the relationship and interpersonal skill essentials (R.I.S.E.) of empathy, listening, acknowledgment, and encouragement. 

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