November 2017
Issue 92

This month's theme - Soft Skills

In this Issue:

For Managers: Self awareness test
For Trainers: A model for soft skills training
•  Training in Action: Financial success comes from soft skills training
Offer of the Month: Improve your leadership skills
The Light Touch: Thou shalt not kill
Quote of the Month: People will forget
  For Managers – Self Awareness Test

How good are your 'people' skills?

Answer the following questions by placing your score in the column to the right of the questions:

All of the time = 4
Usually = 3
Rarely = 2
Never = 1


1. Does your team perform well even when you are not present?  
2. Do you respond quickly and positively to requests from your team members?  
3. Do you make time for small talk?  
4. Do you know about the people who work for you? What makes them tick? What are their aspirations and concerns?  
5. If asked would your team members agree that they receive sufficient recognition and praise for the work they do?  
6. Do you challenge people appropriately when standards slip?  
7. Would your team members say that you were approachable? (This means being available as well as willing!)  
8. Are you a good listener?  
9. Do you handle criticism positively?  
10. Do you take a genuine interest in the development of your team members?  


35 – 40 Very good – you clearly have some great people skills – may be a good idea to test this on your team members!
30 – 34 Good – keep working at becoming more effective
25 – 29 Hopefully completing the questionnaire will help you focus on those areas where you need to improve
0 - 24 You will clearly have to work at this one!

Would you like to improve your Soft Skills or would you like to see your managers and supervisors improve?

Click here for information on our Soft Skills improvement courses.


  For Trainers – A model for Soft Skills training

Soft Skills Model – Dealing positively with requests

Answer a question with a question
(This helps you understand the situation clearly and demonstrates that you are genuinely interested in the person’s concern or request)

(This means listening without interrupting, clarifying by asking questions and summarising to check you have understood what the person is saying)

Problem solve
(This may mean involving the employee in finding a solution)

(Offer genuine support and encouragement)

Check feelings
(Check that the employee is comfortable with the decision or advice you have given)

Take action
(Make sure you do what you said you would do – keep your promises – if for any reason you are unable to keep to deadlines – communicate)

Keep your body language positive and be sincere

We will be happy to give you some ideas to help you use this model on your training courses - click here for more information.




  Training in Action - Financial success comes from Soft Skills training

When we hear the expression soft skills we may be drawn to think about ‘being kind’ or ‘nice’ or ‘pink and fluffy’!

Or we may be more informed and recognise that usually when speaking of ‘soft skills’ managers are referring to subjects such as:

Team work
Customer care
Presentation skills
Selling skills
Negotiating skills
Interview skills
People skills

I read recently that 85 percent of financial success comes from people skills and only 15 percent from knowledge. So what do we mean when we talk about people skills?

I am impressed by Daniel Goleman , Richard Boyatzis and Annie Mckee for their brilliant thoughts  in the book The New Leaders, and would like to offer you some quotes from the book. So here is some food for thought:

Food for thought

 “The fundamental task of leaders, we argue, is to prime good feeling in those we lead. That occurs when a leader creates resonance – a reservoir of positivity that frees the best in people. At its root, then the primal job of leadership is emotional.”

“Great leadership works through emotion”

“Leaders who spread bad moods are simply bad for business – and those who pass along good moods help drive a business’s success. “ (Referring to how companies lose good employees)

“For every 1 percent in the service climate there’s a 2 percent increase in revenue”

Emotional Intelligence

The authors give their thoughts on emotional intelligence describing managers with high emotional intelligence as those who create resonance within their teams and conversely managers with low emotional intelligence creating dissonance. The discordant leader creates dissonance in the team, which they describe as an unpleasant, harsh sound in both musical and human terms and they make the link with disharmony that kills team working and success. On the other hand they describe resonance in leadership as the leader who creates harmony, people being on the same wavelength, and leadership that fosters positive emotions. You may recognise some of these situations in your team or in teams you have encountered during your business life.

The  authors discuss the competencies related to emotional intelligence  based around self awareness and self management describing skills and behaviour such as self control, transparency, adaptability and optimism.

Initial reactions

When designing courses to help organisations train their managers to be better ‘people managers’  I have designed bespoke courses for all of the ‘soft skills mentioned so far in this document and I have also designed courses based on what I call ‘initial reactions’ – first reaction to an employee’s request, need or behaviour that affects how they perceive the way  we see and value them as people.

I usually begin with praise. I never cease to be amazed at how many managers believe that employees do not need to be praised for ‘doing their job’, when you consider that a plethora of employee surveys will tell you that employees seek praise from their employers. Perhaps it is the ‘child’ in us that creates this need. So when manager s suggest that we only praise people for doing over and above what is expected of them I do suggest an alternative formula:

1. Praise the employee for doing the job well
2. Reward the employee for performing over and above what is expected.

As well as practising praise (and you may be amazed at how some people found this difficult to do) we go on to learn and practise how to respond positively to employee requests, especially when we are busy.

I recall one course where delegates were participating in a simulated factory activity and the manager was under pressure to achieve . While the pressure was on a member of staff came in to say that she had received a call from school and needed to attend to her child urgently.  We replayed the manager’s reaction to this request on the video, and at the moment of request, we paused the video to observe the manager’s panic stricken face with eyes focussed on his wrist watch and finger touching the watch, giving a clear message that this was not a good time to pester him about domestic needs. On many occasions I have observed that managers give clear signals to their employees that the job is more important than the employee’s needs.  You can be sure that the employee will recognise this and whatever the outcome will remember how this felt when you need his or her support.

“People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”

During our soft skills courses we help managers to learn how to react positively to employee requests, how to praise effectively and how to correct appropriately, making employees feel valued and treated fairly. Managers return to work and put the learning into practice immediately because – It’s easy when you know how!

Double your financial success through soft skills training

Remember that for every 1 percent in the service climate there’s a 2 percent increase in revenue. That means that for every 100 percent service climate there’s a 200 percent increase in revenue

Now is a good time to train your managers to get that extra 100 percent positive service climate and gain that extra 200 percent financial success. If you multiply that by every employee then start thinking’ increased profit’

Click here to increase your profit through soft skills training




Please ask us about:


More interesting topics for you to consider:

»Success is not everything
»Believe in yourself and be happy
»Easy to Make Mistakes
»Influencing and Negotiating
»Leading the Way
»Clock Watchers





Like us on Facebook    Visit Syd's blog   Connect with Syd at LinkedIn   Follow Syd on Twitter


Would you like to develop your leadership team in company?

If you would like to improve your leadership skills we are offering our leadership training package (pdf) at a special price of £99 plus VAT (Normal price £150)

Enjoy the Benefits:
» Dozens of group activities
» Individual work activities and assignments
» Extensive Power Point presentation
» Real life case studies
» Printable materials and handouts
» Designed for easy transfer of learning
» All activities can be delivered using materials from your stationery cupboard or local store
» Enough material for at least 7 days training
» Can be used for individual self learning

Don't miss out

click here to place your order now



Subject to availability

Terms and conditions apply

Offer ends 5 January 2018




The Light Touch


Thou shalt not kill

A teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds.

After explaining the commandment to honour thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?"

One little boy jumped in with an answer "Thou shall not kill."







Quote of the Month


People will forget

“People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”






Coaching and Mentoring




Syd Strike Training Solutions
Yarm House
2 Hawkridge Close
Stockton on Tees
TS17 0QS

Tel: (01642) 767913




   Sign up to our Releasing
People Potential ebulletin today
and enjoy monthly free tips on:

Managing people for performance
Increasing performance and profitability
Building an enthusiastic and loyal workforce
Designing creative and effective training programmes
Getting the most from your training budget
Effective coaching and mentoring



Copyright 2017 - Syd Strike Ltd (Training Solutions)
All rights reserved