Without a doubt, the human trait that sets us apart the most from the animal kingdom is our extraordinary brain. Humans don’t have the largest brains in the world. We don’t even have the largest brains relative to body size. Yet the human brain, weighing only about 3 pounds when fully grown, give us the ability to reason and think on our feet beyond the capabilities of the rest of the animal kingdom.
The science of our brain supports this wonderful statement by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic; “Everything is contagious and everything is teachable”
When leaders are disappointed with an employee’s performance at work, it’s far easier to state; ‘they are incompetent’, ‘they don’t get it’ or they are simply not ‘fit for the role’. Other times we hear leaders say… ‘They have the wrong attitude’.
I remember years ago a HR Director who led a large mobilisation proudly stated that her recruitment philosophy was ‘recruit for attitude and not for skill’.
So can we teach the skill of attitude? Can we teach employees to care and be engaging? Can we teach employees to serve customers as if they were friends and interact with them on a social and emotional level that inspires them?
Can we teach employees the skills that make us uniquely human – the ability to reason and think on our feet?
Absolutely. It’s not a question of ‘skill’ but perhaps ‘will’ and dedication to training, practicing and putting in effort.
There is more and more science supporting; the key to skill mastery is ‘deliberate practice’. Angela Duckworth author of Grit has studied the motivation and skill of people, she has looked at people who are labelled as ‘gifted’ or a ‘natural’ and all her evidence leads to this statement; ‘…as much as talent counts, effort counts twice’.
We may not find natural and gifted employees who ‘get it’ every single time they interact with customers however we surely owe it to them to educate, teach and allow space for them to practice before we quit on them?
“We are now witnessing a period of history where service sector jobs requiring social interaction skills and emotional intelligence will become increasingly important”.
The new capabilities needed for new jobs in the future, as we co exist with robots and artificial intelligence are; creativity, problem solving, advanced reasoning, complex judgment, social interaction and emotional intelligence.
Thankfully humans run our planet and we have the brain and therefore the ability to practice these skills. What are you waiting for, get practicing.
Why serve when you can inspire