Survey after survey today asks leaders from all backgrounds what makes one leader more impactful than another. Although responses often state that technical expertise is essential, the big differentiating factor that sets apart strong leadership are the soft skills.Boy do I hate that term! What on earth do people mean when they use the words- soft skills? How many of you are you cringing at this point as you repeat those two words to yourself?
Soft skills can conjure up negative feelings in some of us while leave other leaders totally confused. In a recent LinkedIn Survey, 2,000 business leaders were asked what soft skills are most needed for a business to succeed in 2018. What are the most critical soft skills for leaders in order to create high performing teams and outstanding company results?
- Time Management
Here are some tips to add powerful soft skills to your leaders’ toolboxes:
A great way to help the leaders in your organization grow is to ask the powerful but simple question: What kind of leader do you want to be? To help the leaders delve into the qualities and characteristics of their leadership it can be helpful for them to think of leaders they have met in their careers who had the greatest impact on them. What made those leaders so extraordinary? Remind the leaders that they don’t need a formal title or position to lead but rather step up for stretch assignments and hold themselves accountable. Create a leadership strategy for each individual.
Leaders communicate with more than their words. First make sure your words are clear, direct and respectful. Don’t beat around the bush- say what you mean to say with confidence. But to be a powerful communicator and have your messages heard leaders must explore their:
- Body language and facial expressions
- Tone and make sure it complements what they want to say
- Active listening capabilities
- Hand gestures
- Volume of their voice
To cultivate a collaborative team environment it helps to know about each member’s natural style of behaving and communicating. Through DiSC assessments or Myers-Briggs Inventories leaders can learn about their styles and the styles of their team members. That knowledge can decrease conflict and elevate collaboration when we recognize each of our differences and our preferred ways of interacting and making decisions. Another benefit of understanding what makes team players “tick” is building stronger relationships and trust.
We can have all the technical expertise and yet never manage to be successful leaders without the ability to manage our projects and workload. This soft skill can derail any leader. What can be helpful for leaders to master their time management skills?
- Look at your core values and put them into each project
- Learn how to prioritize by realizing a leader can’t do everything well at the same time
- Create a time management system that makes sense to you and you can sustain
- Add daily habits that free your time up like checking emails only at certain times
- Work on difficult tasks during your high energy times of day
What soft skills have added to your leadership success?
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