July 25, 2011

Lessons from a Soft Skills Training


(Image taken from the Internet)


The organization I work in recently ran a series of soft skill trainings for us. It was actually fun and a welcome break from the daily hum-drum of things. Initially I was quite skeptical about attending the training, as being from a Psychology background, soft skills as an area does not carry much new learning for me. The training was however compulsory and I also thought, that fine, why not? Maybe I’ll learn something new after all or if nothing then it would be nice to just see how the trainer tries to inculcate soft skills in us.

The training started on Friday, with all of us quite and silent. I guess most people in the office environment are never excited about training. It is just seen as another avenue to get bored in the office or an alternative or excuse to avoid work for a day or two and do time-pass. The trainer’s skills’ are the most important thing here. Its upto him, whether he turns the office zombies into real people full of energy and excitement who learn to enjoy the training or whether he is unable to change anything and what remains is just those office zombies getting more and more bored than before. Fortunately, we had a wonderful trainer, who managed to evoke words and spells of laughter from even the most shy of us :)

The world we live in is largely negative or rather throws only negative feedback at us most of the time. Positivity is something that you rarely see thrown at you. I didn’t learn anything new as such from the training, but it was really good to have positivity thrown at me, to be reminded of happy and nice things which somehow one tends to forget in the humdrum of daily living. Here are some learnings from the training:-

  1. Smile Often – Now, this is really common right but how many times do you actually follow it. A smile not only makes you look good but can actually uplift your mood when you are down. Not to forget, the potential new people we can attract in our life. None of us like to talk to people with sullen faces and smiling makes sure we always have a nice social support with us. From a psychological perspective, a lot of psychological disorders are actually seen in people with a limited social circle. Man is a social animal and we need others around us to be healthy and happy. So, if you are a happy person, you will attract and retain more people around you, thereby always having a good social support.
  1. Meaning of Communication – Communication means conveying something to another person and making sure the other person understands it in the manner we intend it to be. Now, generally when we look at communication, we stop at the first part – the part about conveying only. The second part where another person is supposed to understand our actual intent is something that we take no ownership for. ‘Usko samajh nahi aata toh main kya karu’, ‘Mujhe jo bolna tha maine bol dia, aage uske upar hai use samajh aaya ya nahi’, ‘If you don’t understand what I mean, its your fault and not mine’, ‘I said what I had to, if they can’t understand then its not my fault’ are very common type of situations. We often say what we want to without thinking that the other has understood or not. If he or she hasn’t we consider them to be dumb or feel hurt by their lack of understanding; rather than examining and or improving our communication skills.
  1. Assertiveness – A lot of people forget to be assertive in their communication and interactions. They alternate between either aggression or submission. You need to be assertive in order to be happy yourself and in order to keep others happy too. After all, imposing your own will on another person, will not keep you happy for long, neither will taking anyone’s orders against your will. In a fight or conflict too, it is important to be assertive and show your perspective to the other person. Yes, most times this is very difficult as either you or the other person will be too upset to actually empathize with each other’s perspective but understanding and actually placing oneself in another person’s shoes can really solve many of our problems. It also significantly improves our relationship with the other person.
  1. Take Ownership for Your Own Image or State – A lot of times we blame others for their wrong perception of us or the state we are in. We blame them for misunderstanding us, for even causing us to act in a certain way. The onus of how others’ act with us does not lie with them but with us. We need to take ownership for the way, the world acts towards us. If someone is mean to you, stop blaming him or her and devise ways to make that person like you. Yes, you will come across some people who are plain mean and nothing you do will change them but you will also come across people who are genuinely offended due to some tiny mistake of yours and who will back you like anything once they see you for what you are! In office, if you haven’t received a good appraisal eventhough you worked your ass off, try and examine where you went wrong. Maybe you were not able to project your efforts to your boss in the correct manner. So work towards it, show him or her, the results of your hardwork. If that doesn’t help, and you are really stuck with a superior who is actually taking advantage of you and not paying you your due then there’s always the option of going for greener pastures.
  1. Be the Change You Want to See in the World – If you want change in your life, bring it, become the change you want. You have an impossible situation at work, where you are stuck with a boss who just doesn’t acknowledge your hardwork, then move on, get a new job. You have a personal situation, where no matter what you do, a family member is constantly plotting against you; then ignore them or move away from them to preserve your happiness.

2 comments:

  1. very nicely put together.
    I remembered my trainings and how I hesitated every time :) But what needs to be done, is done.

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