The "Other" Skills Of A Good Ringmaster recently had an intriguing article about the Seven Signs You Have Terrible People Skills. The article has some fantastic and somewhat humorous points, but what caught my attention is the concepts of "hard" vs. "soft" skills and how as one grows into higher positions of leadership, the soft skills are the ones that become more critical.

Here's a circus example. The Ringmaster is doing a solid job announcing the acts and keeping things moving. They have strong "hard" skills like organizing, public speaking, etc. During intermission, however, a few small children walk up to the ringmaster and attempt to engage him in conversation. Even though he is 6 feet 3 inches tall he doesn't kneel or attempt to get down to their level. He talks about himself instead of asking the children questions and being interested in them. The result? Instead of the children skipping away with joy about meeting the ringmaster, they leave confused because they aren't seeing the same person they saw during the performance. This ringmaster is weak in "soft" or people skills.

As we say often in training programs, YOU are the ringmaster of your circus. And if your performers or audience seem less than thrilled with your efforts, maybe it's not the technical skill or knowledge that's lacking. Perhaps it's your people skills that need more work if you want to be a better ringmaster of your circus.