Soft Skills for Challenging Times — UPDATE

tecenter County Programs, News

With the day-to-day, hour-to-hour, tweet-to-tweet messaging, far from clear and concise, that we are all being bombarded with regarding COVID-19, I ask that you push back from the PC and breathe.

Not a short shallow breath, but a deep and long meditative breath! Close your eyes, feel it in your chest and finish with a “Thank You.” Be grateful for all that you are and all that you have. Amid chaos, a simple measure of happiness may mean playing your favorite song or singing it out as if no one is around (thereby, encouraging a little more social distancing!) Do whatever it is that you must to stay resilient, adaptable, understanding, confident, and creative. Practice becoming a more intentional and collaborative communicator using these foundational soft skills to navigate through these challenging times.

Here are some suggested free webinars and micro-learnings available to Alameda County employees through SumTotal. If you need assistance with access or would like supplementary resources please head here.


Take a Deep Breath and Manage Your Stress ⁠— 25 mins.
When you’re constantly adding items to your never-ending to-do list, feeling overwhelmed at work and at home, and finding your health and relationships negatively impacted, you are likely experiencing stress. Stress is produced by your own feelings and reactions to certain external events, rather than by the events themselves. But while you may not always be able to control the external events causing your stress, by applying mindfulness techniques, you can control your reactions to them. Session outlines strategies for maintaining work/life balance, ways to change your responses to stress, relaxation techniques and adopting mindfulness to help you focus.

Staying Balanced in a Shifting World ⁠— 15 mins.
Achieving a healthy work/life balance gives you the chance to practice mindfulness and focus on what’s important in all aspects of your life. Maintaining this work/life balance requires constant vigilance. This course focuses on techniques for managing stress and recognizing the behaviors like passivity, aggressiveness, and assertiveness, and how these affect your ability to find balance in life. Techniques that can be used to achieve and preserve balance are also discussed.

Navigating Your Own Emotions ⁠— 30 mins.
In the workplace, emotions can often run high; sometimes, they can cause you to say or do things that you may later regret. But the only person responsible for your emotions is you; you own them. That’s why developing emotional intelligence is so crucial in protecting your professional reputation. In this course, you’ll learn how to manage your emotional IQ, or EQ, in order to handle difficult situations more effectively. You’ll also learn different strategies for building emotional intelligence, such as taking ownership of your emotions, becoming emotionally self-aware, and identifying emotions.

Taking Stock of Your Work/Life Balance ⁠— 25 mins.
People with a healthy work-life balance are satisfied with both their work and home lives. They can fulfill their multiple family responsibilities at home, as well as work and community commitments without guilt or regret. They’re healthy physically, emotionally, and socially. They’re not over-worked. In fact, they have a sense of control over their life, and feel that the decisions they make are informed choices.

Managing Pressure and Stress to Optimize Your Performance⁠ — 25 mins.
People react to high pressure differently. Learning to cope with pressure and handling stress are very important, because you don’t want pressure to have a negative impact on your performance. In this course, you’ll learn about managing stress and pressure, situations that trigger pressure, and how pressure can become stress. You’ll learn strategies for managing stress by ensuring you have the right attitude, taking control under pressure, and using performance management to cultivate a “”success mentality.”” You can then optimize your own performance and prepare to cope with stressed colleagues.

Learning from Failure⁠ — 20 mins.
From the minor slip up to a full-blown catastrophe, failure is a part of life and business. It’s part of your self-development, and it’s part of developing talent. It should be embraced as an opportunity for continuous learning and growth. If you encourage organizational learning, you can start developing employees. And then those who embrace failure are more likely to achieve their goals.


Administrative Support: Interacting Effectively with Colleagues ⁠— 20 mins.
Dealing with people daily can be both rewarding and challenging. Mastering administrator essentials and good peer relationships will increase your efficiency, job satisfaction, and career advancement. In this course, you’ll learn how to master the skills of being an administrative support professional. You’ll also learn how to interact effectively with colleagues by asking for help from others, dealing with criticism, and building trust, morale, and respect.

Managing Motivation during Organizational Change ⁠— 23 mins.
A key challenge for managers is motivating and engaging employees during times of organizational change. To survive and grow in volatile markets, organizations must embrace change; they must innovate and adapt. However, because change involves uncertainty, it’s stressful, and it can impact employee motivation and productivity – just at a time when an organization needs everyone to pull together and give their best efforts.

Taking the Lead with Workplace Motivation and Engagement ⁠— 20 mins.
The best leaders are masters in workplace motivation and engagement. In this course, you will learn the characteristics of motivation and engagement, as well as techniques for optimizing both. You will also learn techniques for motivating and engaging yourself and others, in both onsite and remote situations.

Maximize Your Productivity by Managing Time and Tasks ⁠— 20 mins.
The amount of time available to you is constant – you can’t buy more, and you can’t save it for later. However, by managing your time, you can increase your productivity. And the better you understand your own personal productivity, the easier it will be to manage your time effectively. In this course, you’ll learn about how you can use task management to maximize your productivity and the benefits of “chunking” your time and how to use different types of to-do lists effectively.


The Building Blocks of Building Trust ⁠— 30 mins.
Who can I trust around here? This is a more common workplace question than most of us might like to admit. Building relationships and trust within professional networks is done like a mason building a wall – one stone at a time. Trust is a core ingredient in positive relationships. Without it, the mason’s wall takes on a whole new analogy – a barrier, with no gate for entry. This course explores trust what makes you and others trustworthy, and how to demonstrate trustworthiness through you own professional accountability.

Facing the Management Challenges of Difficult Behavior and Diverse Teams ⁠— 30 mins.
As a manager, it can be daunting to find yourself in charge of a diverse group, comprised of different age ranges, backgrounds, and experiences. It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter difficulties. Effectively managing conflict, whether it’s team conflict or difficult employee behavior, is essential to productivity and requires developing conflict management skills. This course covers useful techniques and processes for conflict resolution. You’ll learn methods for resolving conflict when dealing with an employee’s difficult behavior. You’ll also learn ways of effectively managing team conflict and understanding and dealing with conflict in the workplace.

Difficult People: Can’t Change Them, so Change Yourself ⁠— 32 mins.
It would be easy to say that to deal with difficult people you should be tolerant and accept people’s differences. This sounds nice, and might work in the short term, but if you are working with people you find difficult and you expect to be working with them for some period of time – you are better off learning how to respond and relate to them. The approach you use depends on the person, the situation, and your willingness to build and blend skills as needed. Dealing with difficult people requires that you first learn how to manage yourself with them. This means being self-aware and practicing self-management. It also means tuning into the feelings and emotions of others, however difficult it might be. When you know what triggers you and how you typically react, you can build skills to help make your interactions with others more productive. This is emotional intelligence, and if you build this capacity, you will be able to deal more effectively with many difficulties in life (including other people)!


Personal Power and Credibility ⁠— 25 mins.
Authority carries a certain type of power – typically position power. A person is granted the power and authority to meet goals and get results through a responsible job definition and accountability. The police officer that cites you for speeding. The financial manager that calls for an audit. People may comply, rebel, resist, or gripe about those in authority, but there is a reason and purpose for such positional power. On the other hand, most of the results that get accomplished in organizations come from the use of personal power and not solely reliant on direct authority. It all comes down to personal credibility, influence, and political savvy.

Developing a Growth Mind-set ⁠— 20 mins.
In the workplace, there are two specific types of mindsets, or attitudes, which can either promote personal growth and resilience or hamper an employee’s performance. People with a growth mindset achieve ever-higher levels of productivity and can help their organizations thrive; by contrast, people with a fixed mindset tend not to develop professionally and may hinder an organization’s goals.

Managing in a Crisis — 21 mins.
Effective business leadership is never more needed than during the difficult times of a company crisis. The way you handle tough conversations or deliver a difficult message can make or break the situation. It’s essential to have crisis management strategies to improve outcomes. In this course, you’ll discover ways of managing in a crisis, including how to manage difficult conversations and crisis communications.


Using Strategic Thinking to Consider the Big Picture ⁠— 30 mins.
By thinking strategically about a problem using the bigger picture, you can elevate your perspective and get a better idea of the forces at play within your organization.

Unleashing Personal and Team Creativity ⁠— 30 mins.
Believe it or not, everyone has the potential to be creative. If you’re struggling to express your creativity, then something is getting in the way. The good news is that these barriers can be overcome. At work, it can be especially difficult for individuals to express themselves freely and interact in teams. But with the right approach and techniques, team leaders can provide a safe space that allows everyone to share and contribute their ideas.

Collaborative Communication

Trust Building through Effective Communication ⁠— 25 mins.
Communication is most effective when you build and maintain the trust of the people you communicate with. In this course, you’ll explore how a clear intention is the basis of an effective communication, and how understanding your audience ensures that the message gets delivered. You’ll also learn how body language, vocal tone, and managing emotions can influence your communications and build trust with your audience.

Listening Even When It’s Difficult to Listen ⁠— 31 mins.
Successful people are generally excellent listeners. They’re able to give others their full attention so that they can understand their needs and ask the right questions, even in difficult or stressful situations. They can also use their listening skills effectively to communicate their own goals and to build strong relationships with others. You’ll learn common misconceptions about listening, how to hone your listening skills, and what to do when you encounter roadblocks to actively listening.

Taking Action to Empower Employees ⁠— 20 mins.
The most successful business leaders know how to empower employees. Empowering employees involves giving them what they need to enable them to do their very best work. This course will cover practical ways you can empower others, so they reach their full potential, boosting job satisfaction and organizational success.

Become a Great Listener ⁠— 24 mins.
Communication is a two-way process – while one person provides information, another must not only understand what is meant, but also show that they’re being receptive to that information. This requires strong listening skills – a vital asset in any business environment. Learn how to sharpen your listening skills and getting yourself in the right receptive mindset for communicating. You’ll learn how to ask the right questions, recognize the behaviors that indicate receptivity, as well as to identify the different types of listener.

Virtual Team Resources

Establishing Effective Virtual Teams ⁠— 30 mins.
Building and managing teams is enough of a challenge when everyone is in the same location. Collaboration when working on a team that’s virtual requires even more commitment. In this course, you’ll learn about teamwork and team leadership when working on a virtual team. You’ll cover remote management and tactics for communication, assessment, and meetings for virtual teams.

Facing Virtual Team Challenges ⁠— 30 mins.
Virtual teams can face the same difficulties as other teams, but also have unique challenges. In this course, you’ll learn how to handle challenges facing your team, and how to evaluate your own style.

Contributing as a Virtual Team Member ⁠— 15 mins.
Companies often opt to create virtual teams in place of on-site teams. This allows employees to work from home or remote locations. However, if not managed appropriately, remote working may cause breakdowns in communication, collaboration, and teamwork. In this course, you’ll learn how to develop the skills you need to show team leadership and be an effective member of a virtual team. You’ll explore personal traits that are useful when working on a team remotely. You’ll also learn strategies to stay connected with other team members, and ways to manage your time and overcome the challenges associated with managing teams remotely.

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