Six Secret Soft S.K.I.L.L.S.

Six Secret Soft Skills Workbook and eBook

Having taught many people how to manage and lead people in organizations for a few decades now, I’ve been asked repeatedly by practicing managers what can they do — that’s practical, doable, and useful — to be more effective? However, over time I’ve looked for ways to synthesize that research into practical actions — tweaks really — that provide a lot of benefit for comparatively small effort. The result is this topic — Six Secret Soft S.K.I.L.L.S..

They’re not secret because people don’t know about them or use them — but because many of the people who do use them are not always able to articulate how or why they work. I’ve picked skills that have backing about their effectiveness from research. We tend to use ‘soft’ to contrast with hard-edged business skills. They’re soft skills, differentiating them from the functional and technical skills we teach in business schools, because they help us relate to each other better. They’re not soft because they’re easy. Nor are they soft because they’re less important. And they’re skills (or competencies if you prefer) because they’re totally learnable.

These soft skills are also mutually reinforcing. They all contribute to our ability to appreciate each other, to learn from each other, and to have healthy relationship boundaries supporting our connection.

Using any one of the skills in this acronym S.K.I.L.L.S. will boost your leadership effectiveness: Solution Seeking, Kudos, Inclusion, Listening, Learning, and S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals.

  • Solution Seeking | Explains why you want to value people with answers and team members who engage others in the process for finding solutions.
  • Kudos | Shares the motivation research that says the best Kudos:Constructive Criticism ratio is 3:1 and explains how to give feedback effectively using that research. When giving kudos, however, it is important to know what and how to give reinforcing feedback.
  • Inclusion | While there are many inclusion strategies, using names with contributions is high-leverage inclusive behavior that works really when leading diverse-multicultural teams.
  • Listening | Listening as we teach it is a meta-emotional intelligence competency that demonstrates respect, balances cultural and personality-based communication styles and helps you learn fast.
  • Learning | Learning from different perspectives is a core benefit of diversity, according to state-of-the-art Harvard Business School research — and we explore the cycle of inference and how you can make sure you include more relevant information when making important decisions.
  • S.M.A.R.T.E.R. | While many people-managers already know how to make S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measured, Actionable, Results-Oriented and Timed), the motivation research suggests that adding Engaging and Reinforcement to your goals, e.g. making them S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals, boosts your team’s effectiveness.

Six Secret Soft S.K.I.L.L.S. materials are available in the following formats.

You can find more information about each in the tabs below.

Materials for this title available in workbook or handbook format


Materials for this title available in elearning format


Materials for this title available in Mp3 format


Materials for this title available in video format


Materials for this title available in workbookformatThe Six Secret Soft S.K.I.L.L.S. Workbook (77 pages): Practical, research-based suggestions for developing people-skills that will transform your work (and home) relationships.

The tone and style of this workbook is deliberately practical and informal, in keeping with Dr. Robin’s teaching style. She provides resource links, additional reading in the appendices, and some references — including internet videos — for additional learning.



Materials for this title available in elearning formatJoel Lesko of Sunshower Learning, and Dr. Robin have partnered to create an eLearning program for her popular Six Secret Soft S.K.I.L.L.S. workshop.

The modular design includes videos introducing each of the six soft skills, interactive tools for exploring each of the skills, links to videos and research providing more learning, check-your-knowledge quizzes for each skill plus an optional final quiz, a downloadable workbook, and answers to frequently-asked questions about the six soft skills.

It can be used as a stand-alone program, as an introduction to this content, or as a reminder after participants have gone through a live Six Secret Soft S.K.I.L.L.S. program. The eLearning workshop takes at least 90 minutes to complete.

Please note: The workbook included with the eLearning program is different from the workbook you can purchase directly from this site.

To review the Six Secret Soft S.K.I.L.L.S. eLearning course, contact Joel Lesko, the producer of the course, HERE or call Joel at (888) 723-8517

Materials for this title available in Mp3 formatDr. Robin’s Reminder
Dr. Robin’s Reminders are short audios tracks that summarize information from longer formats. They provide a convenient way to remember and share core concepts.
Runtime — 18 minutes

Audio Tracks:

01 SSolution Seeking | Value people with answers and a process for finding solutions
02 KKudos | Motivation research says best Kudos:Constructive Criticism ratio is 3:1
03 IInclusion | Using names with contributions is high-leverage inclusive behavior
04 LListening | Meta-competency to demonstrate respect, balance communication styles, learn fast
05 LLearning | From different perspectives is core benefit of diversity
06 SS.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals | Specific, Measured, Actionable, Results-Oriented, Timed, Engaging, Reinforced
07 Conclusion



Materials for this title available in video formatThe Gamma Project Team video case is a multicultural team interacting over a 5.5 minute time period. Dr. Robin uses this case to help participants observe effective and ineffective behaviors within a work context. Her debriefs can focus diagnosing which of the soft / relationship skills the characters did not use, and which ones they could use (and why) to be a more effective team. It is a great way to help participants understand the power of the soft-skills.

Please contact Dr. Robin HERE to arrange a private preview of the Gamma Project Team video if your organization is considering a professional development program where observing a multicultural work group followed by soft skill development for participants would add to the learning experience.

Gamma Project Team Video Case


Six Soft S.K.I.L.L.S. Overview