Management and leadership discussions often include the words “Hard and Soft Sciences”. Hard Science usually means using problem solving and decision-making tools, product production processes, or electronic communications. Soft Science refers to those behaviors used to create relationships, instill values, and influence others.
My personal career long observations are that these Hard and Soft Sciences monikers are wrongly applied. To train someone how to use a process or purchase a software application is not that different. It is not challenging to conduct performance training or spend money. It is a soft application of leadership and management behaviors. Performance training and software procurement don’t require a personal investment of risk taking and emotion.
On the other hand, building and sustaining effective work relationships and motivating others to do something they do not want to do is HARD! It requires transparency, honesty, role modeling, patience, persistence, and self-governance. The Hard Science is leading and managing others. The Soft Science is enabling others to comply and do their work.
Warren Bennis once described leading and managing people as “herding cats”. That is HARD! It can be done but one has to posses the capability to inspire, instill courage, define accountability, and create discipline in the constant pursuit of perfection.