The Business of Learning

Soft Skills and Scrapping Goals

Each Friday, RPS will highlight five popular news stories from the world of training professionals. Visit our blog each week to see which stories were trending amongst your industry peers.

Workforce Management: Goal for 2013: No Goals by Ed Frauenheim
Peter Bregman has a provocative essay at Harvard Business Review arguing that goals can do more harm than good. He argues that goals can generate unnecessary stress, and he cites a Harvard Business School working paper with the excellent title, Goals Gone Wild. It finds goals can lead to myopia, harm interpersonal relationships and motivate unethical behavior. The paper also saw these side effects of goals: “corrosion of organizational culture” and “reduced intrinsic motivation.” Ed Frauenheim’s goal for 2013? Put goals in the trash.

Chief Learning Officer: Has Executive Education Gone Soft? by Frank Kalman
Modern leadership is rooted in skills such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence, wisdom, influence and authenticity. Professors, learning practitioners and others in leadership development say the skills the market demands of today’s executives have less to do with spreadsheets and more to do with prodding employees’ emotional, motivational and behavioral tendencies. Executive education, to a notable extent, has gone soft, but don’t confuse soft with easy!

Training Magazine: Projecting Confidence and Competence by Cara Hale Alter
Those who don’t project credibility often struggle to succeed, particularly in today’s recession-weary workplace and job market. But what kind of training helps individuals appear confident and competent? Alter has identified 25 specific visual and auditory cues that affect the perception of credibility. She explains that unlike countless other cues, such as gender, age, or physical features, these 25 cues are within your active control.

Harvard Business Review: To Give Your Employees Meaning, Start With Mission by Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer
Why is meaning so important? Because when people find meaning in the work, they also feel a sense of ownership. The work means something to them personally. When people take ownership of the work, they are more committed to it, more intrinsically motivated, more engaged. And that makes for better performance on all dimensions. In the best companies, where employees are engaged and performance shines, leaders at all levels respect employees and consistently strive to give them the autonomy, help, resources, and time they need to do great work.

Forbes: How To Prepare for 2013 At Work by Jacquelyn Smith
Whether you have a few days off or you’re working right through the holidays—there are a few things you’ll want to do around the office before 2012 comes to an end. Following these tips will make it possible to come back to the office with a renewed focus on the New Year.

We invite you to discuss these and other industry articles with us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Happy holidays!

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