Student Spotlight: Grace Jones Finding the right professional path sometimes means trying new fields and...READ MORE
Do Your Leadership Skills Stink?
By Greg Price
It’s Monday and a new work week has begun. You’re the leader of your team. Quick question: How do you go about saying hello to those on your team? How do you engage? The natural offensive protocol at work suggests that it is far easier to engage in the work of finding new clients, building out a proposal, or developing a new thing-a-ma-jig. But, what about the defensive side of leadership? Saying hello, engaging with your fellow employees, and becoming more open and available to them suggests that this is a defensive play that supports an increase in morale while it also sends a strong message to those around you that you are approachable. It’s also defined as being a ‘soft’ skill.
Difference between Soft and Hard Skills
For as long as I can recall, knowing ‘how’ to do something seemed far more valuable to the boss than knowing ‘how’ to talk to someone. This is the difference between a ‘soft’ skill and a ‘hard’ skill. Hard skills are tangible, they are the occupational elements of the job that get things done. Soft skills, on the other hand, are those intangible skills. They are the behavioral approaches that occur between people. Things like saying hello to others, the interactions that occur between departments, or conduct within a meeting, etc.
The Trust Factor
Leaders come with a definitive set of skills that not only include hard skills, but also soft skills. Hard skills are those where the leader synthesizes data, defines priorities and goals, and sees organizational perspectives. Yet on the soft skills or, behavioral side, leaders also work with others. They are responsible for delegating responsibility, holding others accountable, and influencing the efforts of all members of the team. Leaders who are exceptional at soft skills can help bring others along to become more than they can be by themselves. This is real leadership, and this type of leader builds the trust necessary to engage everyone on the team to accomplish the organization’s mission and goals.
Employees Moving On
What happens if you don’t see yourself as a people person? What if you just aren’t like this, but you know the because of the position you’re in, you know you have to be. You’re not alone. Recent statistics suggest that over 50% of employees are looking for a new job in the coming year. There many reasons, but often it is because employees state their direct supervisors are not utilizing their skills to the best of their abilities or that enhance their careers. This is astounding, and there is a cure to help your personal cause.
Get the Help you Need
Take stock in your leadership skills. Don’t just assume you have leadership capabilities because you are a positional leader. The challenge of being a leader is that you no longer can hide in your office, you have a much large role to fill and others are watching what you do. It’s no doubt you have the hard skills needed to do the job, but now focus on the soft skills to ensure your own personal success as a leader that others want to follow.
Reach the next level. MA Leadership at CityU of Seattle – Taught by leaders (36 credits).