Getting Unstuck: Getting Work Done Cooperatively – an Interview with Mary Schaefer

What do we mean by “soft” or “interpersonal” skills? Where do you see them – or the absence of them – in the workplace? Which ones do you consistently demonstrate? In this episode, we’re joined by Mary Schaefer, an HR specialist who now coaches organizations and leaders on how to bring humanity to the workplace through interpersonal skills.

Mary is show here delivering her TEDx talk,  "Putting the Human Back Into Human Resources."

Mary is show here delivering her TEDx talk, "Putting the Human Back Into Human Resources."

Listen for:

• What we mean by interpersonal, or soft skills.

• How interpersonal, or soft skills impact productivity.

• How job postings and the hiring process positively and negatively reflect interpersonal skills.

• Why many managers don’t pay attention to, or are actually uncomfortable with interpersonal skills.

• How you can train for an interpersonal skill such as coaching.

• Why vulnerability is a key leadership behavior.

• Why leaders need to engender confidence and competence in staff in the wake of change.

After listening to the episode:

  1. Assemble five trusted friends or colleagues – individuals whom you know will be honest with you – and ask them to identify your people skills. See where you have convergence and divergence.

  2. Pretend you don’t work in your organization. Walk in one day and look for clues in the environment that speak to people working cooperatively and collaboratively.

  3. One of the challenges of being empathetic in the workplace is that you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, but retain the ability to make a tough decision. Think back on a time when you had to tell people what they needed to hear versus what they wanted to hear.

For more information:

On Mary



On the two books referenced

Immunity to Change

Managing Transitions

Jeff Ikler