5 essential soft skills in executives

July 04 2019
5 essential soft skills in executives

You’d be surprised at how many work professionals seem to forget the importance of developing soft skills. If you’re a manager, an asset to the company or even just coming in to lead a team, it’s time to start thinking about how your leadership skills are affecting the wellbeing of the office as well as yours. It doesn’t matter how hardworking you are at work, because it won’t cut it if you don’t work well with others. Read on to learn how these five soft skills are crucially important to your job.

1. Listening

A lot of managers sometimes fail to remember that listening isn’t the same as hearing. The key to good communication in the workplace is listening and understanding what employees want or need. Often, managers come to misunderstand what their employees feel or think about a certain something. Good listening skills create a positive relationship between co-workers, and it’s proven that it can establish trust, confidence and improved self-esteem.

Good listeners connect with people in a powerful way where they give their 100% attention to another person. They show their interest by conversing through expressions, body language and words. Using gestures while you speak of an idea can encourage a feeling that you share similar attitudes and ideas with another person. When in doubt, responding with open-ended questions like, “Can you tell me more about that?” is enough to show that you’re attentively listening. 


2. Collaboration 

It’s been proven that working in a collaborative team will contribute to the success of any business. But, putting employees in the same room doesn’t mean that they’ll automatically collaborate with one another. Managers and executives should take proactive measures to create a collaborative environment for their employees in the workplace. It makes achieving a common goal a lot easier and fun when a group of people starts working together towards a similar goal. Here are some ways executives can cultivate a collaborative environment: 

Set team goals

Setting team goals will motivate employees to hit higher targets. It inspires them to perform better each time they hit a goal and they’ll even share a sense of accomplishment among co-workers.

Run brainstorming sessions

Sometimes, coming up with new ideas isn’t a solo process. Brainstorming brings people together into the creative process and gives your employees a role to contribute to what they’ll be working on in the future. It also opens a door of fresh new ideas to discuss about. 

Leveraging employee’s strengths

Although there are employees hired to do a specific job, it’s useful for managers to encourage their employees to play to their strengths. Position employees for success by assigning the right tasks to them that might make a positive difference in a project. Reward the team if they’ve accomplished something. 


3. Persuasion

To succeed as a leader, managers should master the art of persuasion. The ability to influence others at work has become an essential skill for managers to achieve work goals and to drive businesses forward. It also gives them the power to negotiate successfully and establish credibility when meeting new people. There’s a known relationship between leaders positively influencing others and achieving higher levels of productivity within their teams. But before you become a pro at persuading people, managers must learn to develop a compelling message that builds influence to reach their desired audience. It’s one thing to have a great product or idea, but the key is persuading people to buy into it.

Persuading others is most easily accomplished by articulating the benefits of your message and hoping the public will accept the proposed course of action. President Obama is a great example, weaving beautiful metaphors and stories within his speech to captivate Americans. There are motivation and meaning behind his speeches that empowers Americans to stand together with him to make a change.


4. Adaptability

Change in the workplace is inevitable and like it or not, managers must adapt to change if they want to succeed. Good leaders have flexible ways of thinking where they use different strategies and mental frameworks to help explore an unexpected situation from various angles. Adapting to change is more than just trying to cope with it; successful managers are flexible to change, and they accept it. They immerse themselves in new environments and situations where they listen and observe before judging the situation.  


Some examples of adaptability in the workplace:

• Think outside the box or even your job description to explore different solutions to fix a problem. 

• Be understanding and more flexible with other employees or team members who might have trouble meeting deadlines 

• Be willing to work extra hours to cover a co-worker’s responsibility during a time of urgency

• Keep your composure during any time of emergency or even when you’re stressed


5. Time Management 

A good manager knows how to organize their time. Knowing how to plan your time in advance can maximise your time in doing useful things. But sometimes, even the most experienced managers have had unforeseen circumstances fall onto their well-organised time management plans. To improve your time management skills, managers should slot different tasks during a specific time of day. You could also try scheduling all your meetings in the morning instead of breaking them up throughout the day. You might wonder how this helps with time management, but this trick can save a lot of effective time. It’s always better to get them out of the way than to be interrupted again while you’re doing work.


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