Just imagine the impact you could have if you were to spend time every week systematically building up the soft skills of the young talent on your team. You would send a powerful message, week by week. You would make employees more aware. You would make employees care. You would help employees learn the missing basics one by one, one exercise at a time. Bottom line: You would build your young employees—and make them so much better.

Over the years, we have developed and tested many tools, techniques, and learning exercises in our “career skills” and “managing your boss” seminars with young people in the workplace. It all follows a basic eight-step teaching strategy:

  1. Make them aware: Name it and describe what the skill means to the organization.
  2. Make them care: Explore what the skill means to them.
  3. Sell it: Explain the “self-building” value of the skill.
  4. Break it down: Spell out exactly what they need to do, step-by-step.
  5. Make it easy: Use ready-made lessons and exercises.
  6. Get them involved: Give them “credit” for self-directed learning.
  7. Make it practical: Spotlight opportunities to practice on-the-job.
  8. Follow up with coaching style feedback to reinforce the lessons whenever possible.

The point is to spend time every day or every week nurturing the soft skills of your team. Not only will you be sending a powerful message to your young employees, every manager they ever have will be grateful for your efforts.