Do soft skills make a soft leader?
Absolutely not! They are important leadership qualities which enhance hard skills.
Leaders with emotional intelligence and social skills are becoming more and more sought after. Technical know-how is still valued, but companies are moving away from the ‘command and control’ leadership style.
It is now important to know how to lead through others. This is something you can’t achieve with only technical skills, so learning how to use soft skills will really help you!
To develop soft skills, learn to…
Communicate: Describe tasks and goals to employees clearly and concisely, while taking an interest in hearing others’ opinions. Establish an open-door policy, or have regular conversations with your employees to maintain that contact.
Influence: Inspire your staff to work hard and feel invested in the company’s achievements, whether this is through rewards, recognition, or new opportunities. Take time to understand which motivators work best and use them to encourage passion and enthusiasm.
Praise: Recognise and compliment other people’s achievements. If you give credit where it’s due, then your staff will feel valued. (And if you do need to criticise an employee, do it quietly, constructively, and not in front of anybody.)
Delegate: Identify the interests and strengths of each of your employees and assign tasks accordingly. This will help your team to develop, and will allow you to focus on other important tasks.
Stay positive: Smile and laugh with your team! Have a good sense of humour to create a happy and healthy work environment for your employees – and for yourself. People will be less stressed and more productive.
Earn trust: If you want employees to feel comfortable talking to you about their problems and concerns, it is important to be open and honest. Your employees will only trust you if they respect you, so demonstrate your integrity by sticking to your values and following through with your promises.
Be creative: Try to think outside the box occasionally. Don’t be afraid to try different solutions, or approach problems in different ways.
Accept responsibility: Accept blame when something doesn’t go well, and then come up with solutions for improvement. Hold yourself accountable for everyone’s performance like the strong leader you are.
Be flexible: Be willing to adapt to new situations, and accept whatever changes come your way. Always be looking for ways to grow and improve your leadership skills, and be open to suggestions and feedback.
Be supportive: Treat your employees with compassion and respect. Help them to work through any problems and frustrations they might have.
Soft skills don’t make a soft leader, they make a great one.
Having soft skills that compliment hard skills is an incredibly useful quality for someone in a leadership position.
These skills shouldn’t be dismissed as unnecessary. If you are able to develop them, you will be able to gain your employees’ respect, meaning they’ll be more willing to produce good work for you.
Want to enhance your leadership skills? Attend our next Power2Lead taster workshop.