The term “soft skills” include a range of competencies from communications to problem solving to collaboration. They are very different than technical skills, however they are no less essential to success. In fact, a recent LinkedIn survey of 4,000 talent professionals and business leaders showed that 57% of respondents valued soft skills more than technical skills. Keep this statistic in mind when you evaluate the kinds of changes your business needs to make to remain competitive and identify future leaders. The following seven soft skills will help you do just that.
This is a broad category encompassing verbal and nonverbal skills, including listening, speaking and writing. Good listening skills allow someone to truly hear what others are saying. It also allows the person to filter out unnecessary information and get to the crux of the issue and facilitate problem solving. Good speaking skills allow people to relay and understand complicated concepts.
The ability to persuade is often underestimated even as it is admired. At its core, this skill is what allows leadership teams, salespeople and business developers to “sell” their ideas to others.
Creativity and Vision
In this context, creativity refers to the ability to look at processes, procedures and problems with a view toward creating more efficient solutions. As team members work through a project, they may discover new problems that need to be solved. For instance, they may look at existing data and determine they need another metric or they may look at a task that has been done the same way for years and find a time-saving way to perform it.
The ability to leave your ego at the door and give credit to others is an important skill. Being able to recognize that someone else has come up with a better solution than you is critical to being able to act for the good of the company.
Teams are made up of a cross-section of the workforce: people at different levels and with different roles at the company. The results of the project the team is working on can be affected by how well team members work together and the level of respect they show for each other on a daily basis.
Time management is another underestimated skill. It is, however, a vital one because it allows you to manage all of the tasks you’re charged with in a set number of hours. Good time-management skills allow you to get things done and have a positive impact; poor time management skills often result in half-finished tasks and a lot of frustration.
Passion is, perhaps, not truly a skill or a talent, yet it is what distinguishes great leaders. It is something all leaders should look for in the people on their teams.
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