11 Soft Skills of Leaders

By Daniela McVicker

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

The soft skills of leaders are such an important part of being a successful leader. But they’re also very hard to pin down.

Everyone knows when someone has them, and everyone can tell when they’re lacking.

The difficulty lies in the fact they can’t be quantified like hard skills can be.

To learn more about these two distinct groups of skills that every leader needs, take a look at the age-old hard vs. soft skills debate.

Some people will argue soft skills are innate, some that can be learned from scratch, and others a bit of both.

To learn more, take a look at these 11 soft skills that every leader needs:

1. Self-Awareness: Know How You Feel

As a leader, the onus is on you to set the tone for the rest of the team. If you’re in a foul mood, then this will create an uneasy atmosphere.

By knowing how you feel, you can take the necessary steps needed to get yourself in the right frame of mind to lead.

From there, all else follows.

2. Self-Regulation: How You Project Yourself

This follows nicely from the first skill, and it’s vital if you want to lead a team through a stressful period.

By controlling the signals that you give off, even when you feel stressed and overworked, you’ll be able to get the best out of your staff.

Give off the wrong signals, and the whole team can be drawn into a spiral of negative thinking.

3. Approachability: Make Your Team Want to Come to You

When it comes to soft skills, there’s perhaps none more important than being approachable.

We’ve all had a boss we couldn’t go and speak to, and it makes the working day so much harder.

By being approachable, you’re offering your staff a way to vent frustrations or raise issues early so they don’t get out of hand.

4. Openness: Show the Team You’re On Their Side

Giving the impression that you have something to hide is a surefire way to kill morale.

By being open and honest at every turn, you’ll become a leader that people can trust and confide in.

If your team knows you have their best interests at heart, you’ll find they’re far more productive.

5. Empathy: Be the Person Who Relates to Everyone

Empathy is perhaps the softest of soft skills because you need a different approach for every single person.

Some people respond to a joke, some people need very little, and others need to be walked through issues.

By being able to relate to your team without coming across as overly familiar, you’ll become someone they want to work for.

6. Good Humor: Find the Balance Between Being Fun and Professional

Teams with writers that have deadlines every single day require a degree of balance.

By injecting a little humor into proceedings at the right moment, you’ll be able to motivate your team with very little time or effort spent.

7. Self Motivation: Leading From the Front

No one wants to do overtime for someone who watches YouTube in their office all day. If you lead from the front, you can set an example for your team.

Traits like arriving first, staying onsite for lunch, and saving your holiday until the big project is signed will all be noticed by your staff.

8. Emotional Intelligence: Knowing How People Will React

Your ability to read how people are thinking is something that many people think you’re born with.

It’s virtually impossible to see how you can learn it, but you can get to know the people in your team.

Treat them as individuals and accept that they all react slightly differently.

9. Filling the Gaps: Recognize What You’re Missing

A very underrated soft skill is the ability to notice what’s missing both within yourself and the wider team.

If you can do it, then you’ll be able to make the changes that will fill the gaps. The sooner you do it, the better it will be for team morale and productivity.

10. Neutrality: The Art of Diffusing Conflict

No one likes to feel that their boss is part of a clique. As a leader, you need to appear impartial even when you may feel you’re not.

Stay neutral to resolve the conflict. And keep any overt signals of how you feel to yourself.

11. Empowerment: Make the Team Believe in Themselves

Whether leadership is learned or genetic, you need to find a way to make the team believe in themselves.

Once you do that, you’ll have unleashed their creativity and problem-solving so that they really start to shine.

Which Soft Skills of Leaders Are Essential?

If you have ideas about the soft skills of leaders that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Daniela McVicker
Daniela McVicker
Daniela McVicker is a writer with a particular interest in showing businesses new ways that they can grow and expand. By combining the latest research with real world experience she aims to deliver insightful advice that can be utilized by businesses of all shapes and sizes. She also works with students as a writer and editor at Top Writers Review and help them to improve their writing skills.
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