8 Steps to Teaching Soft Skills to Today’s Young Talent

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

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.

About the Author

Bruce Tulgan is internationally recognized as the leading expert on young people in the workplace and one of the leading experts on leadership and management. Bruce is a best-selling author, an adviser to business leaders all over the world, and a sought-after keynote speaker and management trainer.

Since 1995, Bruce has worked with tens of thousands of leaders and managers in hundreds of organizations ranging from Aetna to Wal-Mart; from the Army to the YMCA.  In recent years, Bruce was named by Management Today as one of the few contemporary figures to stand out as a “management guru” and he was named to the 2009 Thinkers 50 rising star list. On August 13, 2009, Bruce was honored to accept Toastmasters International’s most prestigious honor, the Golden Gavel. This honor is annually presented to a single person who represents excellence in the fields of communication and leadership. Past winners have included Stephen Covey, Zig Ziglar, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Ken Blanchard, Tom Peters, Art Linkletter, Dr. Joyce Brothers, and Walter Cronkite.

Bruce’s most recent book, The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Challenges (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2014) was published in September, 2014.  He is also the author of the best-seller It’s Okay to Be the Boss (HarperCollins, 2007) and the classic Managing Generation X (W.W. Norton, 2000; first published in 1995). Bruce’s other books include Winning the Talent Wars (W.W. Norton, 2001), which received widespread acclaim from Fortune 500 CEOs and business journalists; the best-seller Fast Feedback (HRD Press, 1998); Not Everyone Gets a Trophy: Managing Generation Y (Jossey-Bass, 2009); Managing the Generation Mix (HRD Press, 2006) and It’s Okay to Manage Your Boss (Jossey-Bass, 2010).   Many of Bruce’s works have been published around the world in foreign editions.

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