Having this traditional silo-structured environment makes it very difficult to properly develop a curriculum surrounding service management. Because of this there is a significant gap that exists between the education received by business school graduates and the skills that they need to succeed in today's service heavy environment.
Non-traditional Business Skills and Tactics
Nontraditional business skills are often referred to as soft skills or people skills. These consist of the ability to communicate and understand people on an emotional level. These are often the skills that can determine the success or failure of a career (Thilmany, 2009). The skills are all related to human interaction. This includes most forms of communication, negotiation and leadership. Soft skills can be distinguished by different types such as informative, negotiating, listening, and communicative. Informative soft skills are those that send a message that has to be conveyed accurately. Negotiating or convincing soft skills is the art of being decisive. Listening soft skills entails concentrating on what people are saying and being able to deduce information about the speaker from what they hear and see. Communicative or socializing soft skills are a combination of listening and speaking while interacting with others. Soft skills are central to the success of managers and leaders because this involves the ability to work with other people (Dolan, 2001).
Everybody needs people skills in order to be successful. The ability to communicate with people and understand them on an emotional level is sometimes referred to as soft skills. These skills usually determine the difference between success and failure when people try to manage other people. Having good people skills can't hurt in presenting a new idea to management, or even in negotiating for a raise.
People learn soft skills from everyday life. Professionals sharpen them by training. This is often done in role-playing situations with others, and that can be an expensive education because of all the people involved. According to Thilmany (2009), there is a current push to try and improve these sills by way of computer training. A university in England has developed a way to do just this in the training of pharmacists. People who may be upset, or may be in need of critical information are good candidates for pharmacists who have good people skills in addition to their technical and medical knowledge. But because they're only human, pharmacists need to be taught some of those soft skills.
Communication entails more than just making presentations or writing reports. Communication is an all-encompassing skill that can be used to bridge a gap between miscommunication with someone from another country or culture or even from executive management within the organization. It is learning to have an awareness and sensitivity to those around and being able to articulate ideas to others and then receive their support.
It is thought that managers and leaders spend a lot of time communicating in a variety of forms, including face-to-face conversations. This is often seen as an underrated skill that needs constant improvement. According to the authors of Business Communication: Strategies and Skills, roughly 75% of all managerial time is spent in verbal one-to-one exchange. Communication is seen as the common thread that runs throughout every working day. Lamb-White (2008), states that these communications skills can take various forms that include:
Face-to Face communication
Written information including emails and memos
Formal writing including reports, letters, and strategies.
The richest form of communication is face-to-face where the entire range of information, both verbal and non-verbal, is available and therefore where the accuracy of the information can be checked. There are three key components that are necessary in order to have effective face-to-face communication. These are the guiding principles that contribute to the quality of verbal communication and by association, the outcome. These skills are useful within any kind of information but particularly within appraisal, coaching and team development processes (Lamb-White, 2008).
Many managers find themselves in the position to have to provide feedback to their employees. This should always be done through face-to-face communication. Feedback is a supportive process and should be used to reinforce ongoing behavior. It can also be a corrective process, which induces changes in behavior. In the view of Lamb-White (2008), both of these roles are beneficial if the execution is carried out in the right way. Feedback should be given within an atmosphere of mutual trust rather than in a hostile environment. It should be specific rather than general and should be given using clear and concise language. There is a right time for giving a feedback so that it will be effective. Feedback should be assessed in order to check for agreement and acceptance. It should also be tailored to the ability and authority of the receiver so the key messages can be accepted and understood. A balanced level of feedback should be provided that is neither too little or overwhelming. Feedback allows the receiver to see him or herself as others see them and provides them with opportunities to adjust behaviors if necessary. Without good communication skills though, feedback messages will be hard to deliver and not well accepted by the receiver.
People in every workplace talk about building the team, working as a team, and being on a team, but few understand how to create the experience of team work or how to develop an effective team. Belonging to a team, in the broadest sense, is a result of feeling part of something larger than one's self. It has a lot to do with your understanding of the mission or objectives of your organization (Heathfield, 2009). Teaming is a group of employees working together to accomplish goals. Each person on the team has a set of skills that adds to the whole. Working with others is an essential tool. As companies reorganize and employees are let go, those that are left behind have an increase in workload and must work together to complete tasks (Schermerhorn, 2008).
According to Heathfield (2009), in a team-oriented environment, one can contribute to the overall success of the organization. Working with fellow members of the organization in order to produce these results is the result of good teamwork. Even though people have a specific job function and belong to a specific department, they are unified with other organization members in order to accomplish the overall objectives of the organization. The bigger picture drives everyone's actions as their function exists to serve the bigger picture.
Possessing the skills that are needed in order to build good teams and then manage them on a daily basis is a good way to be invaluable to an organization. Creating an environment that allows employees to feel that they are all part of the team and that they are all working towards the same goals as opposed to each department within the organization being separated from everyone else is a good goal to have. This tends to increase employee morale which in turn increases productions and employee satisfaction.
Ethics, whether it is personal or business, is a group of moral standards that have been considered carefully and have been accepted and applied to the situations and issues in people's lives to help them decide what is right or wrong behavior. Employees observe the behaviors of their leaders to find out what is valued in the organization.
Maintaining corporate social responsibility is important to everyone, and in many instances, a minimum in ethical practices has been mandated by federal, state and local law. It is important for a company to educate themselves on the legal compliance with ethical business practice that they need to maintain to remain well within those legal boundaries. Creating a comprehensive policy of workplace ethics and responsibility, and making sure it's easily accessible by everyone in the company is vital. Spelling out not only the behavioral expectations but also the consequences one can expect when those expectations are not met is key to success (Roe, 2009).
Another area that is being targeted as a soft skill needed by managers is emotional intelligence (EI). Improving non-traditional business skills seems to be the emphasis in what used to be considered a traditional skills industry (Dolan, 2001). Emotional intelligence (EI), according to the experts is a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' emotions and to discriminate among them. This information is then used to guide one's own thinking and actions. Emotional intelligence has also been described as the intelligent use of emotions. If one is intentionally able to make their emotions work for them using them to help guide their behavior then they are said to be emotionally intelligent (Tucker, Sojka, Barone, and McCarthy, 2000).
Emotional intelligence has been popularized in the business realm by describing its importance as an ingredient for successful business careers and as a crucial component for effective group…