I had a boss who would always ask his sales manager after she interviewed a sales candidate – hard or soft?
The implication was if they weren’t hard, they, oftentimes, wouldn’t be considered for the job.
He was acting out of experience and preference and is quite successful with that strategy. His success does not negate the value of soft in sales or any other endeavor. Soft is what the ancient Chinese call “yin” – the complementary force to “yang.”
Soft is the way of water. It may not have the speed of a bulldozer but its power, when harnessed or applied over time, makes hard look soft.
Hard, in most cases, is artificial and adopted. If we are adopting hard as a temporary strategy to get us through a situation, that is being versatile. Adopting it permanently does us a disservice.
Many women in corporate America do themselves a disservice by adopting the hard traits of their male counterparts. They become like men and devalue their femininity and all the attributes that go along with being female. Reminds me of a story I’ve told before . . .
I was interviewing for a radio job. The program director listened to my audition tape and asked me if I was attempting to emulate the style of a well known radio personality. I admitted that I was. He then offered me a most valuable piece of advice. He said, “As hard as you try, you’ll never be him. But you know what; he’ll never be able to be you.”
Women have a natural softness about them that beats hard every time.
Please don’t confuse softness with cowardice or timidity. Men have a tendency to hit a wall and if it doesn’t move, they hit it harder. Women after hitting a wall, usually find another way. They are more flexible – soft. If I were hiring someone for a sales position, and had two equally qualified candidates – one male and one female, I’d hire the woman just about every time. Soft is undervalued.
Use your natural traits to your advantage. It’s easier to use what you have than to adopt something that is awkward and doesn’t fit.
The basic suggestion of today’s blog is this: Hone your skills around your base attributes and you’ll not only enjoy more success, but like yourself even more.
All the best,
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