The 4 Skills Associations Should be Teaching

Written by Amanda Kaiser on August 23, 2016

Marketing associations share best practices for leveraging social media. State bar associations develop sessions on the new statutes. Associations for HR professionals teach about affirmative action.

We are really good at teaching profession specific skills. What we are lacking are life skills that can make our member’s lives (and jobs) significantly better. Life skills that can make them happier, more productive; a better professional and a better member.

What if every association developed professional education and content around these 4 skills that each one of us needs?

Relationship Skills

Robert Waldinger, the director of the famous 75-year human development study of Harvard men, says the study showed there’s only one key to life-long happiness and health and that’s having good relationships. My guess is relationships are actually deteriorating between staff members at most American corporations. The race to the bottom is pitting employee against employee and high stress environments are exacerbating tensions and sometimes bad behavior. Relationship skills are needed now more than ever.

Influencing Skills

Coming out of my own member research, the challenge that comes up nearly universally among members of all associations is the need to influence. They need to influence their managers, their direct reports and their peers. Sometimes they even need to influence many other people in the company to do the right thing with no direct authority. Professionals are especially worried about their ability to influence others particularly because their own success often hinges on doing so.

Resilience Skills

Resilience appears to be a learned skill and a valuable one too. Resilience is heavily tied to success and life satisfaction. Dr. Carol Dweck proves this out in her research. Resilience, a mode of learning that allows people to continue trying, is particularly useful in solving some of our toughest work challenges. She talks about the power of yet in this Ted talk and also wrote a fantastic book about mindset. I have not mastered this yet…. but I can!

Creative Skills

Ask a room full of 1st graders and they will tell you they are artists. Ask a room full of us and we will tell you we are not. What is that about? We are all artists and we are all creative. Sometimes we just need to be reminded. Sometimes we need to be in the right environment. Our members are solving tough business problems and need to practice their creative skills AND they need to learn how to help others in their organization be creative as well.

Often we so narrowly confine our tracks, sessions and topics covered to very profession-specific or industry-specific subject matter. To grow in their career members need to be even more well rounded. Adding these four topics can help. What else would you add if you could?

This article was originally posted on Smooth The Path and can be found here.