CommunicationIT Best Practices

3 Tips to Cultivate Soft Skills in Your IT Team

Communication skills, empathy, self-confidence—all the skills you never had in high school, they are now required of IT. The ability to maintain human contact is not just an HR thing anymore. In an article for the Enterprisers Project, Kevin Casey shares three tips to bring more of these soft skills into IT:

  1. Make soft skills a visible part of performance evaluations.
  2. Practice open, blameless communication.
  3. Bake soft skills into your hiring strategies.

Soft on Skills

Performance evaluations examine how well employees are living up to their responsibilities, and if deft soft skills are expected of employees, then these too should be addressed in the evaluation. The employees who especially blossom with their soft skills should be openly praised for it, so that others in IT might see them as role models.

It makes sense to likewise incorporate soft skills into the hiring process. You can ask questions about how candidates dealt with communication challenges in previous jobs, such as, “How have you earned buy-in of stakeholders outside of IT in past roles?” You may want to ask those interviewing for management positions to do a presentation too, to demonstrate their communication skills in action.

Lastly, about blameless communication, Casey shares this:

One fundamental reason soft skills haven’t always occurred naturally in IT, quite frankly, is that legacy IT practices are too often grounded in avoiding mistakes rather than embracing learning and transformation. As Datical CTO and co-founder Robert Reeves recently told us: “Prior to DevOps, we had a culture of punishing failure.” …

Open, blameless communication and collaboration go hand in hand – and increased collaboration is crucial for IT groups charged with increasing agility and speed. Collaboration “allows for productive disagreement between actors,” writes Heidi Hess von Ludewig, senior technical product manager, Red Hat, in The Open Organization Workbook. “That kind of disagreement then helps increase the level of engagement and provide meaning to the group’s work.”

You can view the original article here:

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