Soft skills refer to a person’s interpersonal skills and character traits that affect their relationships with others. They are typically viewed as a complement to hard skills, which pertain to a person’s occupational knowledge and abilities in the workplace. The term “soft skills” refers to a person’s emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) rather than their intelligence quotient (IQ).
The importance of soft skills lies in their emphasis on an individual’s personal qualities rather than their expertise. Soft skills are a fundamental aspect of a person’s personality that dictates how effectively they interact with others. In today’s competitive job market, employees who possess a strong combination of both hard and soft skills are highly sought after by employers.
Below are 11 soft skills that will help you accelerate your career growth in any profession you are in.
• Clear > clever.
• Learn to tell stories.
• Find your voice – authenticity matters.
• Pursue extreme transparency and document everything.
2. Positive energy
• Smile more.
• Be an optimistic realist.
• Never complain or gossip.
• If you’re low on energy, your team is too.
• Seek contradicting views.
• Bring the curiosity of a child.
• Take an outsider’s perspective: what would X do?
• Remember that toddler that asked why 5 times? Do that.
• Be genuinely nice.
• Check in with your team.
• Be generous with your time and attention.
• Always seek to understand why you get a certain reaction.
5. Complex problem solving
• Think from first principles.
• Find ways to inverse the problem.
• Look for relations, patterns & outliers.
• Reduce complexity and break things down.
6. Decision making
• Decide on facts & data, not opinions.
• Their information is still your decision.
• Accept you’ll never have enough information.
• Expect things to be wrong. Own it, learn, adjust and move on.
• Always speak last.
• Learn to ask better questions.
• Listen to understand, not to reply.
• Pay attention to body language, especially online.
• Be willing to walk away.
• Don’t negotiate against the clock.
• Be soft on the person, but hard on the problem.
• The other party is your partner, not your opponent.
• Say “I don’t know”.
• Be approachable and human.
• Own all mistakes. You lose, they win.
• Create a safe space that encourages healthy debate.
• Trust creates the “we”.
• Ethics and trust go hand in hand.
• Deep trust is the basis for your team culture.
• Build trust through intimacy, credibility, and reliability.
• Be the stability.
• Emphasize the process.
• Break tasks down small and stack the wins.
• Show consistent behavior, especially under stress.
Become the orchestrator; set the drumbeat. Lead with intent, and set an example. Help others grow through feedback. Make it about them. Win together.
11 Soft Skills for Leaders