Last week, I completed an instructor certification class for the National Fire Academy (NFA) to facilitate leadership development classes to newly-appointed supervisors in the fire service nationwide, beginning in 2018.
While it is inspirational to learn new methods of adult learning and facilitation from talented NFA instructors, this class reminded me that mastering soft skills is not easy, especially when your vocational focus is on mastering hard or technical skills, such as those in the fire service. It is usually because one masters hard skills proficiently that one is promoted to supervise and lead others toward that technical mastery. Mastering soft skills in Leadership in Supervision must be accomplished for success in a new leadership role.
Soft skills are defined by Wikipedia as "a combination of people skills, social skills, communication skills, character traits, attitudes, career attributes, social intelligence and emotional intelligence...that enable people to effectively navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals with complementing hard skills."
The key to successful learning and implementation of soft skills is understanding yourself, your teammates and your environment to create an environment of growth and effective communication. I am honored to have the opportunity to facilitate this valuable learning to our nation's fire service personnel!