One thing that has struck me over the years is the deficiency in soft skills in the service management arena.
For some, having the right skills to be a service manager starts and ends with becoming ITIL qualified. Don’t get me wrong, I love ITIL® – it has a lot going for it as a framework and a set of qualifications for professionals. But the gap that really does need addressing so that we can deliver excellence in service is the soft skills gap.
What do I mean by soft skills? I mean communication, leadership and handling change. These are the soft skills. At the present time, most newbies who come into the field of service management are either technologists or come from a management systems background. But when striving for service excellence, you need to be more than just either one of these.
You need to have a broad range of soft skills as well as a competence in either IT or management systems. Soft skills come naturally to some, but to others they need developing. How can you develop these skills? Well, there are a range of possibilities. For one, you can read books on soft skills and then put into practice what you have learnt. For example, my own organisation offers a range of soft skills books specifically for this very purpose.
The most important thing to recognise here, though, is that we are on a road of continual improvement. We are now in a world that is coming to terms and accepting service management has something to offer.
As Churchill said ‘Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’ And this is where I believe we find ourselves today, the end of the beginning, where we examine what we want from service management, what really matters and what it can deliver. But as part of this, and on top of the back-the-basic message I believe holds true (Taking the IT out of ITSM), I believe to deliver excellence in service management we must address the soft skills gap and rise to the challenge of being a service manager!