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A Soft Approach For a Heavy Industry

Alexandria Joy - Monday, August 05, 2013

As well as the hard-lined approach to cutting costs within the mining industry, it is now more critical than ever for managers to step up to being leaders as the sector suffers a fall of almost 6%.

Last year Rio Tinto declared a net loss of $3 Billion as a result of poor commodity prices, natural weather events, poor investment decisions and operational costs blowing out. While the forces of Mother Nature and the global economy were outside the company’s control, Rio Tinto’s failure to streamline its operations and secure sound investments was at the hand of its employees.

Recently we have also watched Westrac and Xstrata announce staff redundancies as a way to pull in the belt.

It’s no secret that the mining industry is in the midst of challenging times. To survive it and continue to thrive, managers need to dramatically shift their way of thinking; employees need to be seen and treated as the most valuable company asset.

If you are facing increasing expenses, taxes, royalties, energy costs and outside intervention then you need to develop your people’s soft skills.

In today’s workplace soft skills have become an important factor for success, influencing productivity, efficiency and team collaboration. Without the ability to develop solid relationships, how will you ever build a strong and reputable brand? Without the ability to influence others, how will you gain stakeholder buy-in and position the company as THE leader within the industry?

Traditionally, experience and qualifications run supreme, while emotional intelligence (EQ) and soft skills are overlooked. No matter how qualified, experienced, or even talented a worker is, if they have a low EQ and poor soft skills, they’re likely to be unmotivated, disruptive, and unproductive.

Training, engaging, and growing leaders with exceptional soft skills will have a positive rippling effect throughout the organisation. During a time when the mining industry needs to tighten its belt quickly and wisely, managers need to step up into becoming leaders who communicate so clearly and powerfully that they influence and inspire everyone around them. Leaders who have the ability to keep attune with their workforce get 100% out of their employees in return, rather than the typical 60% productivity rate or less in an unstable environment.

Being a leader means working with humans (yes - not just coal) and humans operate on the fuel of feelings. A leader with a high EQ will foster a workplace where people can feel good about themselves and therefore be more engaged with their work. In a nutshell, people who feel good about themselves will do a better job! A successful leader’s job is to create an environment where people can be the best they can be. In a typically hard industry of mining and resources there really is a place for soft skills.

Download a FREE video on soft skills gone hard http://www.uqpower.com.au/video/free-video-report-soft-skills

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