Paul J Stevens, experienced trainer & facilitator gives a few words of advice on the importance of soft skills and leadership & management training.

One of the greatest reducible costs to businesses in today's challenging environment can be found in areas affected by people skills including misunderstanding, conflict, middle management mistakes, poor leadership and ineffective relationship skills.

Many people consider 'soft skills' as unimportant, however, developing a positive personal leadership and management style, including strategic thinking and effective communication, can help reduce:

  • Stress
  • Sick days
  • Missed opportunities
  • Personality clashes
  • Wasted time

With an average of 6.5 days taken 'sick' by employees in 2010 according to the CBI/Pfizer survey, it is obvious that huge savings can be made every year by reducing just slightly the number of sick days taken by employees. An easy way to achieve this is by ensuring that staff are well motivated by their employer and that there is a positive environment in the work place. An improved leadership and management style can also have a positive impact on important factors such as trust, understanding, staff engagement, customer satisfaction and performance.

The government recognises the need to improve soft skills and as such for eligible SMEs, with 2-250 employees, there are leadership and management grants available, which cover 50% of training costs up to the value of £1000. Whether you are eligible for the grant is easy to find out through the Leadership and Management Advisory Service, details for which can be found here.

The three key areas of leadership and management training identified that make the biggest differences to business performance are:

Creating A Joint Enterprise Culture With The Workforce

Learning how to develop and support an innovative, creative and productive culture within an organisation is hugely important as it enables companies to nurture productive working relationships and effectively manage workplace conflict " freeing up time and energy that can be used for business growth.

Developing soft skills is not an easy option in today's tough environment. Using up to date tools and models during training, employees will be coached to improve trust, understanding, leadership and positive culture, creating a better place to work.

Planning And Developing Effective Organisations And Teams

Recruitment training can be provided on planning, selection. Recruiting the right people is a vital element of developing an effective organisation so training on recruitment planning, selection and departure is a superb starting point.

In addition it is important to learn how to build and manage effective, creative and innovative teams, convey vision and organise objective setting. As the saying goes, you need the right people on the right bus, going in the right direction and sat in the right seats. These people need to be well placed, skilled, engaged, focussed, empowered and well led. They need to know what they are doing and why they are doing it, and be given responsibility to make decisions and own the outcome. Effective teams need clarity, commitment and independence, which through clear demonstrations and coaching can be developed in an organisation.

Leading And Managing Employee High Performance

Motivation is key is a productive workforce, so it should be a priority to learn how to engage and enthuse your workforce in order to achieve higher levels of commitment and output. It is people who drive a business forward, slow it down and occasionally put it in reverse. A committed and engaged team can at times achieve the seemingly impossible, and you only have to look back through history to see examples. Developing effective leadership and delivering the strategy and mission clearly to an engaged team will not only save the business time and money, but also increase customer satisfaction and staff well-being.

By asking your provider to deliver programmes that impact on these key areas, you will be fully engaging and optimising the contribution of your greatest asset " people " and creating a good environment for work and therefore growing the business effectively. Most workshop activities and management programmes can be specifically tailored to meet your needs in line with your strategic business plan and goals so it is worth having a planning session with your provider to outline your key development areas.

If you would like further information on the kind of training that Paul can provide please contact EMG on 01590 677 999 or email