Employee Experience Forum

22 - 24 October, 2019

Kevin Monroe: Soft Skills to Superpowers

This year at Employee Experience Forum we will be welcoming Kevin Monroe as part of our speaker faculty. Kevin's focus on the importance of Human First as well as workplaces and cultures has provided true expertise in this field. Read one of Kevin's blog posts below on cutting out soft skills and focusing on superpowers.

That's right! Soft skills suck...

Here are two ways I see that soft skills suck: 1) soft skills, when done well, suck fear out of the atmosphere. Along with fear, soft skills also suck jealousy, gossip, and insecurity out of the environment. And, as my podcast pals Rich Sheridan and Renee Smith so beautifully articulate -- eliminating fear is the fundamental call of leaders. If you're wondering what fills that void, well it's another four-letter word that petrifies many a leader >> L-O-V-E.

The second thing that sucks about it is: "soft skills" has to be one of the worst misnomers on the planet. It's high time we abandon some of the mindsets and practices that may have worked during the industrial revolution, but do not and will not work in a #HumansFirst world or workplace.

Unless you've been living under a rock, in a cave, or maybe even a monastery you know the world of work and workplaces around the world are undergoing massive change. Whether you call it a shift or a revolution -- the genie is out of the bottle and will not be returning. And, that's a great place for somebody to shout, AMEN! Or as my friend, Claude Silver said in last week's Higher Purpose Podcast conversation #PREACH!

If you think I'm against soft skills, you couldn't be more wrong. I just think we need to call them what they truly are...and what moniker would I nominate?

Make your employees feel like superheroes every day: Start here!


That's right, I suggest we begin calling soft skills Superpowers because in today's world -- that's the effect and impact of what was once almost cast aside like a limp handshake.

Let me set the stage and share how recasting soft skills as superpowers was a Eureka! moment for me.

I'm blessed to know and be getting to know dozens, hundreds, even thousands of amazing people around the world who are hearing the same sound many of us are hearing and joining the parade because we are marching to the beat of a different drummer.

John Naisbitt foresaw this back in 1982 when he wrote, Megatrends. (Hat tip again to Rich Sheridan - who shared this in a book club conversation earlier today.)

    The most exciting breakthroughs of the 21st century will not occur because of technology but     because of an expanding concept of what it means to be human.

If you've been listening to recent episodes of the Higher Purpose Podcast, you know I'm knee-deep in an ongoing series of conversations with #HumansFirst Club Presenting Members about what it means and takes to live, love, and lead with greater humanity.

I was reflecting on these conversations and BOOM! that's when it hit me. Those leading the way are HumansFirst Heroes and they are fluent in what we once called soft skills, but in this new era are in fact SUPERPOWERS.

Turn your employees into superheroes with us this September

7 Simple Superpowers of HumansFirst Heroes

What follows is far from an exhaustive list...however, I hope this is the catalyst for us collecting creating and curating what becomes a more complete list.

Here are a few -- I talk about these seven in this week's Higher Purpose Podcast. You can listen here if you want. The podcast conversation is a different take on what you read here.

X-Ray Vision this works in a very different kind of way for HumansFirst Heroes (HFH). You see into a person...not the way Superman did. You're seeing through the veneer that people have worked hard to project and this X-ray vision occurs in at least 3 dimensions: 

Seeing beyond the veneer or behind the mask. Cut through the clutter and the crap of the polluted environment -- whether it’s crap others put into the atmosphere that clouds the ability to see clearly. Or whether it’s defense mechanisms and protective layers -- the masks people wear to project some other identity.

Seeing into the heart and seeing the REAL beauty, value, and worth of YOU the individual.

Seeing into the future and seeing who the person in front of you is capable of becoming and WHAT they are capable of accomplishing. Seeing things they cannot yet see for themselves. 

Extraordinary Strength to LIFT the team or organization HIGHER. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound...I still hear the words of the opening lines of the classic TV show, Superman. I'm not saying that HFH -- by themselves can leap tall buildings, but what I have observed is their ability to LIFT teams and individuals to extraordinary achievement. Part of this works in tandem with their X-Ray vision to see INTO people and CALL OUT of them the gifts, talents, abilities, and capabilities that exist.

HFH believe in the power of community, team, and togetherness. They have amazing skills in making this happen. Intentionality MIGHT be at the core of their Extraordinary Strength. It’s certainly not accidental. 

Supersonic Hearing -- except that it's not that HFH hear better than others...it's their ability to LISTEN and LISTEN DEEPLY that is their superpower. 

Here's one thing that sets HFH apart of MeFirst leaders -- these heroes VALUE what YOU or OTHERS have to say MORE than what THEY have to SAY. And they work hard...I mean hard to develop this skill that others perceive as a natural ability. Here's what I've learned, whenever I encounter a great listener it's a pretty sure bet they worked hard to learn to listen.

Claircognizance -- (if you're well-versed in the superpowers vernacular, you know this word -- me? I found it through Google.) It's the ability to gain information through intrinsic means -- in the case of HFH, they have an amazing ability to extract from others (out of you) things you didn’t even know were there or that you were capable of doing. That, my friends, is a superpower. One of the ninja ways HFH do this is by asking questions that unlock hidden treasures.

Weaving relational webs around the world in the same Spiderman scales incredible heights by shooting webs. The HFH I know are connectivity queens and kings. Weaving relational webs builds on the combined effect of seeing people, seeing the desired future that we all share, and connecting us together in the quest to make that future a reality. Many of the HFH I've encountered are amazing connectors. If you have the superpower of connecting people -- to the vision, to one another, to a global community of like-minded and like-hearted people -- you just do it naturally. You cannot not connect people.

Suspend Time is a superpower I love to watch in action. HFH don't literally stop time, but they have an uncanny ability to be so PRESENT in the moment that if you are the recipient of their attention it seems as if time stopped (and that you were only person on the planet who mattered at that moment). These HFH make magic in the moment and infuse so much meaning in the mundane that the mundane is transformed into the extraordinary.

Enhanced Empathy. It was said of the Grinch that he "had a pea-sized heart that was two sizes too small". Well, HFH have supersized hearts that ooze with empathy that you experience as compassionate caring. This is not a show, it's a genuine expression of who they really are and how they truly care. You know it when you've encountered a HFH with the superpower of enhanced empathy.

This year at Employee Experience Forum we will helping you to turn your employees into superheroes and giving them a first class experience. Join us to tackle the challenges including: overcoming talent shortage, increasing retention and building on engagement rates through building a culture of inclusion, collaboration, transparency, information sharing, creativity, and wellbeing.

Find out more about Employee Experience Forum here