Soft skills in leadership are very crucial. Businesses are coming to realise that the best leaders have a mix of the much lauded traditional business skills of objectivity and toughness with soft skills such as communication, critical thinking and empathy.
Great leaders will be able to balance the skills required to “close the deal” with looking after and caring for the people that make it all happen. Here are a few pointers to take note of:
- Awareness of Strengths – Leaders need to be aware of their own strengths, so they can leverage these to engage their team members. Self awareness is a wonderful thing. When leaders are self aware and confident, they can also leverage their weaknesses for the development and recognition of team members who possess the skills the leaders lacks.
- Relationships – The workplace is one big network where relationship building is crucial to both the success of the business and the long term career of the leader. Nurturing relationships will often require leaders to set aside the business need for objectivity and replace it with empathy.
- The March of Technology – Technology and automation is on the march. As we rely more on technology those soft skills including communication, critical thinking, problem solving and relationship building are the skills needed most by businesses.
- Dynamism and Flexibility – Companies need to be more dynamic, flexible and interconnected than ever before. It is very difficult to achieve this with leaders who lack well-developed soft skills. Leaders need to lead rapid change as companies push to keep up with technology and markets. Soft skills makes this much more achievable.
- Talent Retention – Leaders with good soft skill will know their team members better and get to know the development they need. Leaders with good set skills will encourage their team members to undertake development.
- Learn – There is a growth preference in today’s workplace to learn at the point of need. This is a risky practice for soft skills. Learning at the point of need may be fine for a lot of technical issues e.g. find the instructions online. Soft skills, on the other hand, need time and practice to develop, evolve and perfect.