High-level leadership positions tend to carry added responsibility, so they often bring prestige and elevated pay. This makes leadership an attractive soft business skill to acquire. However, leadership isn’t just useful for c-suite positions; leadership can manifest in setting an example for your coworkers or taking initiative to improve workflow by speaking up.
Not everyone is a born leader, but if you have a knack for guiding projects, communicating a vision, or motivating teammates, you probably have leadership potential.
If you’re new to leadership or if you would like to sharpen your leadership skills for your current role, start with something manageable, like your department’s team of assistants or a small project on which you can take the lead.
There are many benefits to practicing good communication in business. It can help you articulate goals, connect with coworkers, or land an account. Your style of speaking, grammar, and body language all contribute to the impression you make with key players and the efficacy of your message.
Writing is also an important way to strengthen communication. The more we write, the more we clarify our ideas by seeing them on paper. Business plans, project proposals, and financial reports all benefit from good writing.
The proper and most effective style of communication will vary across different company work cultures, but it is important to remember to listen as much as you speak. When we allow others to express themselves and we listen actively, we gain essential insights.
“Adaptability” and “agility” – close cousins of “flexibility” – have become buzzwords across many industries. This is partly because of the accelerated pace at which so many organizations are doing business. Now more than ever, the best laid plans can take sharp turns, so cultivating the ability to make quick and effective adjustments is a smart move in business.
On an interpersonal level, flexibility is a business soft skill that is also instrumental in adapting to new team dynamics – new hires, new supervisors, or a new CEO. Changes in leadership can shift the direction of a company and streamline processes. While this is generally very positive, it requires a willingness to think and relate in new ways.
4. Problem Solving
It is inevitable that problems will arise at work – many of them unexpected. The first step in problem solving is to accept the challenge and commit to the most positive outcome possible.
When tried-and-true solutions fail to solve a problem, it can take some outside-the-box thinking to come up with the right fix. That said, you don’t have to be a creative visionary to be a creative problem solver. Eyeing challenges from different perspectives, soliciting input from teams separate from your own, and asking bold “what if?” questions can all contribute to creative problem solving.
Having the temerity to assess the results of your problem-solving efforts is also a great way to demonstrate your work ethic, which is a soft skill that matters in just about every workplace.
Gathering the right team isn’t always about finding people with the sharpest skills and the most experience. A great team is one populated by individuals with strengths that complement one another. When motivated by a purpose, a strong team works well together and feels productive. Team-building therefore encompasses an array of soft skills that include communication, motivation, and mentorship.
One of the most important components of the teambuilding skillset is the ability to activate talent. Sometimes even the strongest and most capable team members can lose track of their all-important “why” – especially on a project with tight deadlines and a heavy workload. Reminding your team that their unique contributions matter can make all the difference in how people come together to perform.
6. Time Management
Time management goes hand in hand with productivity. When you’re able to effectively make the most of your time, you are more likely to meet deadlines and complete tasks efficiently. This translates into a stronger bottom line for your company.
In addition, effective time management skills are vital to in-demand positions in the current business job market, like Senior Project Manager and Operations Manager.
To be the best time manager possible, take a proactive approach. If you notice that an element of your team’s day-to-day is costing valuable time and not yielding meaningful results, bring that information to your supervisor. If you can offer an alternative time-saving solution, you’ll be a time-management all-star!
(7) Seeking Feedback
Feedback is how we learn about our strengths and improve upon our weaknesses. A willingness to hear and process feedback is necessary on any job, but why wait until your boss or supervisor offers it up? By being proactive about your job performance, you show that you are invested in your company’s goals and your contribution toward those goals. You also project the confidence needed to ask: “How am I doing?”
To request feedback in a manner that is respectful of your superior’s time and focus, reach out in advance via email to suggest a quick sit-down at their convenience.