ExecutiveBiz spoke with Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) contracts professional Cynthia Hyland about the importance of soft skills.
“Technical skills are important, but they’re not everything. Especially when it comes to helping your team facilitate dialogue with government customers.
“‘We try to look not only at technical skills, but interpersonal skills as well, ‘ said Hyland.”
‘“You really have to have people in the profession who are good in times of conflict, because there will be times of conflict — it’s inevitable, ‘ she said. A sense of humor helps. So does understanding government customer challenges.”
‘“We do have negotiation classes and other things, ” said Hyland, ‘but mostly, I try to work with my leadership to make sure they’re working with their folks to fully understand all of the factors at play … and help them develop a better appreciation for some of the government’s concerns.’
“‘If they [contracts teams] have a better appreciation for what’s driving the changes, ” she adds, ‘they’re more likely to handle any given interaction better.”‘