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  • feedwordpress 09:00:16 on 2019/11/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , soft skills, ,   

    10 Soft Skills Every Leader Needs To be Successful 

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    One of the most exciting and challenging things about leadership is that it requires mastery of a diverse set of skills. You need technical skills, specialized skills for your business or industry, managerial skills—the list goes on. One set of skills that’s often overlooked but vitally important is what’s known as soft skills.

    Soft skills are closely tied to the personal character traits and qualities each of us have. They are part of who you are, generally encompassing attitudes, habits and how you interact with others.

    Soft skills are much less tangible than hard or technical skills, and they aren’t learned through education or training. You can, however, develop them through experience and concerted effort—and it’s some of the most important self-development you can do as a leader.

    Here are the top 10 soft skills every leader needs:

    Embodying self-awareness. It’s important to develop a clear understanding of your own character, so you can understand your feelings and motivations and embrace a deep understanding of who you are as a person.

    Managing with emotional intelligence. The best leaders know how to make an impact not just with their knowledge, skills and experience, but also by being able to understand and manage their emotions. Emotional intelligence enables them to connect with others in ways that make people feel understood and appreciated.

    Leading with a positive attitude. It’s important to embody an attitude of positivity, optimism and enthusiasm. A positive attitude can do wonders in turning a department or company around—and it’s contagious.

    Communicating effectively. Communication is paramount to almost any job, but especially to leadership positions. Knowing how to speak thoughtfully and intelligently and how to listen intently and actively, keeping both in balance, will take you far.

    Embodying empathy. Empathy is arguably the most important soft skill anyone needs, in the workforce and in life. If you’re in leadership, empathy—the simple act of paying attention to another human being and working to understanding their situation—helps you work with everyone from team members to clients to senior leadership .

    Solving problems creatively. Creative problem-solving is an important but often-overlooked element of success. Since problems are inevitable, leaders who can find effective solutions and forge alternative paths on the fly are invaluable. Creativity drives innovation and increases efficiency.

    Accepting feedback. Accepting feedback gracefully shows genuine skill. When you apply that feedback in ways that foster your leadership development and personal growth, you take it to the highest level.

    Praising publicly and criticizing privately. Most leaders understand that public praise helps people feel appreciated and recognized. But you also need to know how to give correction and criticism privately. Private, supportive feedback fosters better performance and a desire to overcome challenges instead of resistance and defensiveness.

    Motivating and inspiring. A big part of your impact as a leader comes from the inspiration and motivation you impart. That’s why it’s imperative to connect with others to build trust and unity.

    Mentoring and coaching. When you invest in others through mentorship and coaching, you express caring leadership. It’s an area where a leader’s actions are far more important than their words.

    If you work at developing these soft skills, you can excel as a leader. There’s virtually no area of leadership that doesn’t benefit from them.

    Lead from within: Knowing how to get along with people—and managing their growth and development along with your own—is crucial for success.

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    The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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    Additional Reading you might enjoy:


    Photo Credit: iStockPhotos

    The post 10 Soft Skills Every Leader Needs To be Successful appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

  • feedwordpress 19:11:12 on 2017/01/18 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , people skills, , soft skills   

    Sharpening your soft skills 

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    The letter from the local tax collector’s office said we were being penalized for failing to pay school taxes last year. It threatened if we didn’t send money by a certain date, there would be additional consequences.

    I looked at the letterhead and didn’t recognize the name of the tax collector, which seemed odd as I’ve known her for years. The tone of the letter was also terse; not at all like Patti, who was sweet and understanding. A long-time popular public servant who had been re-elected multiple times, she was a fixture in the township building who always greeted you with a bright smile. A letter from her would have a much softer tone and say something like “perhaps you’ve overlooked the due date of your last school tax payment”. This made no sense to me. So, I called the office.

    Imagine my surprise to learn that Patti had suddenly died.  The letter we received was from the newly appointed temporary tax collector. After my initial sadness over Patti’s loss, anger set in. Instead of a threatening letter, why didn’t this individual introduce himself and share that his predecessor had died? Why didn’t he say something nice about her and offer to help people during this surprising and upsetting transition?

    We did miss our tax payment, but not purposely, which Patti would have understood. Even if she couldn’t forgive the penalty, she would not have made us feel like slackers trying to get away with something.

    There are hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are job specific. These are technical skills and expertise required to do your job. Soft skills are people skills. It’s about relating to others. Think of it this way.  Let’s say you have a choice between working with two different accountants. One is slightly more qualified than the other, but can be short tempered, rude and not easily accessible. The other is warm, friendly, always picks up the phone and seems to care about you. Who would you choose? Most of us would choose the latter. A person’s expertise might bring someone in the door, but their ability to communicate and relate is what will keep them there.

    It’s those soft skills that help us problem solve, collaborate and build constructive relationships with others. When organizations encourage development of these skills, they create positive environments where people feel valued. That goes a long way toward strengthening relationships with customers, colleagues and other stakeholders. In fact, a national survey conducted by the Harris Poll found that 16 percent of hiring managers believe soft skills are even more important than hard skills.

    So, which soft skills should we develop and why? Let’s focus on four:

    • Empathy
    • Communication
    • Self-Awareness
    • Non-Verbal

    Empathy, especially during difficult times, conveys caring and understanding. During very public situations when a company has done something wrong, it’s most important skill a spokesperson can develop if it’s genuine. While facts are important, it’s how those facts are communicated that form perceptions.

    Your ability to communicate clearly, concisely and openly speaks to trust and credibility. There may be times when you can’t share information. Instead of shutting people out, listen to their concerns and let them know you will share information as soon as you are able.

    Becoming more self-aware of your short-comings will help you change and improve behaviors. People who are self-aware are perceived as open and willing to learn new skills.

    Lastly, never underestimate the importance of eye contact and body language. Making direct eye contact suggests you consider someone important. Open gestures, facing the person who is talking to you and a smile when appropriate positions you as approachable.

    There is also the issue of tone whether intended or unintended. Recently, I inquired as to when we would receive a deposit for an upcoming program. The contract office shot back an email that said: “As I stated in our original email, the deposit will be sent out on x date.”

    I wondered why the nasty tone.  Were they mad at me? Were they annoyed that I didn’t see or remember the date? Were they trying to let me know who is in charge? Or, maybe the sender didn’t realize how they sounded. Maybe they meant nothing at all.

    Maybe, the tax collector didn’t realize how harsh he sounded, especially so close to his colleague’s death. Tone can be very misunderstood when someone can’t see you or hear you. Tone conveys attitude.

    Winston Churchill once said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Attitude is a soft skill. Whether writing a letter, sending an email or speaking in person, an upbeat positive attitude is contagious and can patch up misunderstandings.

    If you just take an extra second and proceed with caution, you might prevent misunderstandings that can sabotage relationships and convey a negative impression you never intended.

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