We all know someone who has exceptional technical skills in their area of expertise, but subconsciously or otherwise, we look deeper than that when it comes to working with others. We unconsciously look at people’s soft skills. Which individual listens to you? Which person produces the work in a timely fashion? Which designer do you trust to get the job done right the first time? When it comes down to it, being an effective anything, let alone a leader, soft skills are imperative.
While it may be your technical skills that open doors as a leader – think management experience, public speaking expertise, etc. – it is ultimately going to be your soft skills that ensure a long and fruitful career. Maintaining the balance of learned skills and soft skills is the key to being an effective leader.
A good work ethic is not learned in a classroom, but it is necessary for the job. The problem with soft skills is that they are not taught, yet they lie at the heart of every successful leader. Where would you be without creative thinking or even conflict resolution for that matter? Again, not technical by name or nature, just necessary skills required to get the job done.
Wondering how you can make a difference in your soft skill set? These five soft skills are a great starting point.
Communication, whether written or verbal, is important in a leadership position – more than you may realise. While communicating upwards, downwards, outwards and across, your ability to give instructions, provide compassion and get your point across, is central to your success.
A leader lacking in Emotional Intelligence (EI) will not be able to empathise and meet the needs and expectations of others. An effective leader must be able to filter their emotions to avoid mistrust and confusion among the team.
Humility makes you a better leader. We are not talking about being weak, insipid or lacking in confidence. Humility brings a natural confidence – knowing when to seek advice, when to let something go, and understanding that you work better when each member of the team contributes.
Ability to influence others
We are not talking just about getting what you want; we are talking about the capacity to influence in all directions. Influencing others in our modern business world means collaborating with, and leading others towards, specific outcomes and positive change.
To effectively lead others, you must first know yourself. It may sound like a cliché, but it resonates in all leadership roles. Knowing where you are lacking and understanding your strong points will help you guide and use your team to your corporate advantage. We are indeed stronger when we all work together.
Soft skills are as necessary as hard skills when it comes to finding the right leadership fit for many companies. And while they play a vital part in your personal skill set they are also necessary for developing members of your team and other future leaders which lie in the mix.