February 8, 2019
In his book “Leader Interpersonal and Influence Skills”, Ronald E. Riggio says that there are two sides to leading.
The “hard side” which involves tasks like planning, controlling, strategizing, etc. and the “soft side” which involves tasks like motivating, networking, and persuading.
It has come to our attention that while there is no shortage of literature and courses that cover the hard skills of leadership, soft skills are often left out. Some believe that these soft skills cannot be learned, instead, you either have them, or you don’t.
However, we want you to know that these skills can absolutely be learned. But before you can do that, you need to know what all comes under the “soft skills” or people skills. To get you started on your journey of betting a better manager, here are 20 people skills:
Heather Hansen in her book “Powerful People Skills”, writes that communication is one of the most important skills when it comes to management, and rightly so. When time is money, you need to be articulate with your words and get the point across clearly and efficiently.
Like every other setting in a business environment, the workplace is dynamic – it’s a happening place and it’s your duty to always have his ear to the ground and look out for signs of any problems.
Your workplace is full of diverse individuals. Some of these individuals might be better at opening up while others may not be. A good manager will always give them enough space and time to talk on their own. You should never be forcing things.
Being able to recognize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses is imperative in building a strong team. You should recognize the efforts of your employees and also reward them when you can.
5. Active listening
A healthy environment has two-way communication which involves listening to what your team has to say without interrupting. As a manager, you might feel like you have the solution to everything but take a moment to listen to what your subordinates to avoid any misunderstandings.
You might know a lot of things about your office, but understand that you cannot know everything. Your employees might be having a hard time doing a specific task or are dealing with family problems – try to be understanding and empathize with them. Make it known that they are not alone. A small act of kindness could mean the world for them.
You need to work on your decision-making skills and judgment. Employees look up to and trust a leader who makes the right calls. How can you make the right calls? By looking at your surrounding, listening to others, and trusting your instinct.
A manager should be creative as it teaches one to overcome unconventional problems that require unconventional solutions. A creative manager also fosters an environment where employees feel like they can better express themselves which leads to an increase in morale.
9. Time management
You already know that time is a limited resource and that it demands judicious use. Your people require your time. They need you to instruct, supervise, review and finally provide feedback. You need to fit all of these into your schedule to ensure high quality of work and satisfaction among employees.
One of the defining characteristics of any leader is their confidence and a sense of direction. You can let down your team and lose trust if you’re not sure what to do next. One way to avoid painful situations like these is to plan ahead. However, do not mistake self-confidence with arrogance.
One-Man Army is nice to hear but doesn’t work in real-life situations. Include every member of your team when making big decisions and let it be known that their opinion is valued.
A manager mostly deals with subordinates who could be new or having trouble with certain aspects of the job. A good way for the manager to create long-lasting, strong relationships is to mentor those individuals.
In order to survive and thrive, every organization needs to introduce certain changes at different times but that can be met by resistance from employees. It’s your job to educate the employees about the benefits and persuade them to accept them.
When you try to manage everything, you end up managing nothing, which is why sometimes it is best to let your subordinates take control and learn on their own. This will be a great way for you to show that you trust your employees.
If you treat different employees differently, you are bound to alienate the majority of your workforce. Make sure each and everyone is subjected to the same rules and rewards.
16. Mutual trust
A great way to connect with anyone, not just employees is to take a leap of faith and show trust. If your employees trust you and you trust them, management becomes a whole lot easier.
No manager can eliminate conflicts entirely but you can surely mitigate and solve conflicts by using your negotiation skills. Carefully analyze the interests of both parties and use them as leverage to come to an understanding. Long periods of conflicts can be highly detrimental to the company.
One of the most important parts of the soft side of leadership is to meet and connect with new individuals. Networking is crucial for any leader as this is how the leader meets and influences people.
19. Hard work
Everyone is attracted to a hard-working leader. Not only it raises morale but motivates your team to work harder as well. When workers had to work overtime in his Tesla factory, Elon Musk, used to work entire days and sleep in his office instead of going home, this no doubt, helped to keep the morale of tired workers high.
20. Keeping Calm
Finally, the characteristic that differentiates the good from the great – the ability to remain calm and composed during tense situations and not letting the circumstances impair their decision-making.
Times are changing, employees will no longer listen to a manager who does not connect with them. Today, in order to manage efficiently and effectively, a manager needs to identify the personal objectives of employees and align with them with organizational goals.