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Career: An MBA is only worthwhile at a top school

Critical, capable of conflict, consistent: this is how bosses should be. This is why such social skills, also known as soft skills, are on the program for MBA courses or other seminars. Prospective managers should learn, for example, how to get a team excited about a common goal. Or how to get them all around the table and persevere until the best solution is worked out.

But can you even learn social skills? Experts disagree. Is it character traits, experience or skills that make up social competence?

“You either have it or you don't”: This is how the German management consultant Reinhard Sprenger sees it. The essential social characteristics are laid out in humans from an early age. They would be brought to the company. "To believe that social skills can be built from the ground up in courses is a fallacy." Only techniques such as conducting conversations or conflict resolution can be learned. The investment is only worthwhile for those people who are already socially competent.

Social competence is not given by God, everyone can acquire it - that is what other experts like Marion Lemper-Pychlau, author and coach, say. Prerequisite: Managers or those who want to become one should recognize their deficits and be ready to work on themselves. Obviously, this is a sheer necessity: professional qualifications are still the main criterion for promotions. This often means that your career develops faster than your personality. Anyone who has no social skills is fighting a losing battle: after all, the experts agree on that. According to Reinhard Sprenger, good managers should therefore internalize the following principles: that it is important to respect a person's intrinsic worth and treat them in a way that corresponds to their self-esteem.

To be socially competent, that means: to adjust to the diversity of people. Communicate appropriately to the addressee and the situation Understanding that it takes multiple leadership styles to cope with the complexity of people. Character traits, experience or skills? Probably a mix of everything.