Leadership success: How soft skills play a key role

Good leadership is more than a title or having a position of authority. It also requires a range of important soft skills that can help you to get the best from your team and ensure that everyone is working together towards a common goal.

Having leaders with strong soft skills such as Initiative, Communication and Attention to Detail not only contributes to a good work environment, that translates into revenue and costs. Recent studies have shown that developing soft skills in the workplace can boost revenue by up to $90,000, increase productivity by up to 12%, and have a positive impact on employee retention. Also Gallup’s 2021 State of the Global Workplace report shows that a lack of engagement in teams costs the global economy $8.1 trillion in lost productivity each year. 

Although some soft skills are crucial for specific jobs or industries, there are a series of skills that every leader should consider for their professional growth.

1. Effective Communication:

According to a Economist Intelligence Unit report, communication is having a really big impact in the workplace. Poor communication causes stress (52 percent) to the team, leads to delays or failure to complete the project (44 percent), causes low morale (31 percent), and even misses performance targets (25 percent).

For these reasons, the ability to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills a leader can possess. Successful leaders must be often active listeners who are open to feedback and acceptance of their team’s perspectives. Also, they must be able to clearly and concisely convey their vision and ideas to their team. 

Most important consequences of poor work communication

2. Emotional Intelligence:

According to Daniel Goleman, an internationally known psychologist who frequently lectures to professional audiences, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize their own feelings and those of others for motivation. In addition, it is a way to  manage  emotions for themselves and their relationship with others.

Goleman breaks down emotional intelligence into five components:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social skills

Studies show that leaders with emotional intelligence provide a way to inspire and lead by  example. Also, emotional intelligence develops a positive work culture in the organization, which vicariously increases efficiency and productivity. Leaders must be able to read and interpret the emotions of their team and respond accordingly. 

3. Leadership and Teamwork: 

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.” – Halford E. Luccock.

This quote synthesizes one of the greatest challenges of leadership. Leaders must take an active role in making sure their teams work well together, like a symphony. In other words, a good leader makes the team work in harmony, where each member empowers the group by contributing their skills.

To connect the team, more and more leaders are implementing team building activities. Effective team building isn’t just an one-off event. Rather, it’s a series of intentional activities scheduled at regular intervals, which is part of larger retention and employee experience strategies.

Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business Research shows that over 70 percent of organizations focused on building and supporting teams report improvement in critical areas such as product and service quality, customer service, productivity and profitability.

4. Conflict Resolution: 

According to a CPP Global Inc. report, U.S.-based employees become involved in conflict almost three hours every week. The report also shows that 60 percent of employees received no conflict management training to help them deal with the issues they may encounter. At this point a good leader can make the difference.

Great leaders are able to address and resolve conflicts between team members in a constructive and effective way. They understand how to manage difficult conversations and use effective communication strategies to resolve issues.

Average number of hours peer week employees spent or dealing with workplace conflict, by country:

5. Flexibility:

Flexible leadership is particularly fitted to sustain effectiveness in a global, complex, dynamic, and changing environment. A successful leader must be able to quickly and effectively adapt to changing circumstances. They must be agile and able to think on their feet in order to make the best decisions in any situation.

6. Decision Making: 

A good leader evaluates risks and opportunities in order to achieve his goals. Urgency, pressure, complexity, resource limitations, and incomplete or conflicting information are everyday leadership challenges

Decision-making is an important leadership skill because it helps to create action plans in emergency situations, establish trust with the employees, reduce conflict and improve workplace productivity. 

How to create a soft skills roadmap for my company?

According to the Society of Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2021-22 State of the Workplace report, 77% of HR professionals said that improving employees’ soft skills was key to their organizations future plans. In that sense, companies need to improve soft skills in their teams to ensure they have well-rounded, high-performing leaders and collaborators.

To do it, companies must detect which soft skills are necessary for each position and create development plans for their employees, especially for their leaders. That way, organizations can measure the current development status of each team member, set goals and create a strategy to improve weak points.

How can I start creating this soft skills development plan? Through our commercial alliance with Hirint, we help you to detect and evaluate soft skills in your company. Do you want more information? Write to us in the comments and we will get in touch with.