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6 Essential Skills to Develop as a Leader

The importance of leaders having a grasp of, and being able to display, 'soft' skills is not new in 2021 - the theory these skills are more highly regarded than 'hard' or technical skills has been around for a while. The challenges of 2020 and 2021, however, has highlighted how well developed soft skills will more deeply support your staff, your team, your organisation and yourself during times of change and uncertainty. So what's the difference? We tend to gain hard skills through education, experience or training. They are usually quantifiable and can be assessed and evaluated. Soft skills are interpersonal, or people, skills and are more difficult to measure. There is an increase in organisations considering soft skills more important than hard skills when recruiting into their leadership roles. Have a think about it - if you are a candidate for a leadership position you most likely already have a certain amount of hard skills eg. creating a budget, planning and implementing a project, developing a risk management plan. If you are lacking a hard skill, that is required for the role, it can be taught and learned. But all leaders need effective interpersonal skills to communicate with their stakeholders eg. their team, clients, customers, colleagues and executives or board. Leaders with soft skills understand human behaviour in the workplace. Soft skills are also easily transferable, they are an asset regardless of industry, organisation, department or project; which makes these employees very adaptable. The old, patriarchal, style of leadership (ruthless, fear-based, competitive) is out. A softer approach, is in. Your employees do not want to be dazzled by your brilliance at regular intervals. Nor do they want to fear you. They want to be empowered, inspired and led. Here are some soft skills you may wish to develop, to become a more effective leader in 2021 and beyond: SERVICE BASED Service-based leaders consider their role to be one of support and guidance. They focus on ensuring every member of their team shines! EMPOWERMENT These leaders empower their team by trusting their judgement and decision making. These leaders are comfortable surrounding themselves with people who may be more experienced than them. EMPATHY Being able to say "I hear you, I understand, you are not alone and I'm so glad you told me." (I must reference here my Queen of Vulnerability, Brene Brown). To show empathy these leaders are able to tap into their own courage and vulnerability. ACTIVE LISTENING These leaders are fully engaged in what is being said to them, and show their attention via body language and quality of questions. SELF COMPASSION Are you able to to say "I don't know"? Leaders who practise self-compassion have a growth mindset, are prepared to feel uncomfortable and ask for feedback. HONESTY Honest leaders build trust and give their employees the space to be honest in return. This enables more authentic and open conversations. If you would like to explore how you can uncover, nurture and develop more soft skills (essential for leadership in 2021 and beyond) we are going to address this and more in my group coaching program The Leadership Lounge. I invite all current, new AND emerging leaders (if leadership is your next step this is your secret advantage) to click through and read all the information. If it calls out to you, contact us via the registration link. CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE INFORMATION Until I see you again, stay healthy and safe.

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