Yes, indeed, they are, but not before birth, says this child develoment expert. Surprised?
Leadership #softskills are hard wired from birth to seven, mostly by parents and child care teachers who have no idea that they're doing it. And if that doesn't worry you--and a lot--about your future workforce, then you may need a reality check outside your own bubble, my friend.
Do you agree that "...the hallmark of a civil debate is when you can acknowledge that which is good in the position of the person[s] you disagree with."?
~Frances Kissling, quoted in Becoming Wise. An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, by Krista Tippett.
As a developmental psychologist, I can tell you that this capacity--to acknowlege the value of a perspective that is not my own--is also one of the requirements of compromise. The individual's capacity for compromise is refined or left behind at the age of about six years. As one of 7 Facets of Team Success, Compromise is essential for the 'civil debate' that fosters generativity, innovation, and productivity in a team.
Gary, a new manager, is handling many of his team members' tasks, as well as his own. It's not that the team has a history of failing to meet their deadlines, though. Gary is stepping in ahead of the deadlines and completing tasks earlier than the date assigned in the project flow. Perplexed, but unwilling to challenge their manager, team members simply adjust: waiting to start their tasks later and later, closer to deadline...and Gary keeps getting their work done before they start it. But why?
They linger outside a doorway for a moment, hoping to overhear.... Ears perk up in the hallways or break rooms. Eyes rove over the surfaces of desks, hoping for a glimpse of something....
At every level of an organization, there is a hunger to know more about the next level. What is happening? What is about to happen? Am I being blamed for what just happened?
It's an early Monday morning, all quiet except for you and one or two other early birds. Then, he's there, in your doorway. That one team member. Again. Closing the door. Again. Angry about another team member's slight. Again.
As the supervisor, what is there to do with this kind of direct report, who is always creating interpersonal relationship drama with co-workers, always "playing office politics," yet otherwise so highly skilled on the job that you're loathe to cut him loose. Have you supervised this person--man or woman, young or old?
Anouk was at a loss, "What do I do with this team? They can't seem to offer me or each other any critical or corrective feedback. They don't really listen to each other at all, because they're always trying to figure out how to look good and avoid being to blame for problems. And they sure can't see all the ways they could work smarter, more efficiently, together." She heaved a sigh as big as the world. "They're like those three monkeys that hear, speak, and see no evil. Sometimes, I just want to shout at them: Hear! Speak! See! REALLY!"