ExecIn moderator and Gravitas Detroit founder Jan Griffiths returns to the Source One Podcast this week.
This time around, Griffiths makes the case for what are often referred to as 'soft skills.' She suggests the term is outdated. In her opinion, it ignores the game-changing impact that attributes like empathy and emotional intelligence often have. She offers 'human skills' as a more suitable alternative.
How can leaders abandon their managerial approach and start inspiring their teams? For Griffiths, it all starts with another all-important human skill: vulnerability.
When a leader is comfortable with vulnerability, she says, they immediately earn the trust of their entire team. She recalls a moment from her career in Procurement. "I knew I had made a mistake and I fell on my sword in front of my entire team." She believes that admitting her own fallibility set an example for her team. It reminded them that failure is an inescapable part of professional life.
She's quick to recognize, however, that there isn't a one-size-fits all approach for becoming a better, more emotionally intelligent leader. Every leader can benefit from recognizing their own fallibility and taking a more communicative approach, but the particulars will vary for each organization and each leader.
While there's still a lot of work to do, Griffiths recognizes that things are getting easier. "The line between the professional and personal worlds are becoming blurred," she says. This is one of the reasons that employees are more comfortable addressing their feelings in the workplace and engaging in an honest, empathetic dialogue with their peers.
For Griffiths, the path forward is all about purpose. Bosses can no longer afford to simply look at themselves as managers. They've got to tie their work to a higher purpose and encourage their peers within the business to do the same. Only then can they begin to truly inspire.
Subscribe to the Source One Podcast to listen to the full conversation.