Dwight D. Eisenhower once said: “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” In other words, leadership is about influence. Stellar soft skills are necessary to exert the right kind of influence over others to achieve desired goals. Soft skills are personal attributes that allow positive interactions with others. Regular positive interactions produce greater influence. Various studies have defined a number of leadership soft skills that affect influence in a positive way. Ten of these emerge as frontrunners for success.
Open and Effective Communicator
Successful leaders know the value of keeping their team informed through clear, two-way communication. They know inclusive communication builds trust and demonstrates value for the opinion of others. These leaders also know that effective communication includes the ability to listen.
Competent leaders know how to get the job done constructively. They know how to best utilize team efforts for the greatest impact. These leaders are not only professional in their jobs but also proficient and effective in what they do.
Leaders confident in their actions and abilities are influential. A confident leader instills confidence in others. These leaders are also assertive and understand that being timid or uncertain presents an image of self-doubt among their team members.
Decisive leaders can make the best or most prudent decision at the right time. They know how to gather facts and use logic and good judgment to make informed decisions. These leaders know when to act and aren't prone to procrastination that delays decisions and affects team productivity.
Dependable leaders are responsible and reliable. They keep their commitments to the company and their team. These leaders meet deadlines and are conscientious about staying on top of obligations. They accept responsibility for their actions, including owning up to their mistakes.
Flexible with Change
Flexible leaders adapt to changing goals, needs and expectations of the company. They can guide their team members through changes and challenges in a way that actively involves the team, fosters collaboration and creates a sense of unity.
Honest leaders are truthful and make fact-based decisions that are for the good of the company and not self-serving. These leaders are forthright with information, understand their limitations and don't make promises they can't keep.
Sense of Integrity
Leaders with integrity practice a professional code of conduct that's moral and ethical. These leaders don't abuse the power or privilege that comes with their position. They have respect for others, no matter their position or status in the workplace.
Leaders who motivate their team do so by uplifting and empowering them. They inspire team members by supporting self-development and growth opportunities. These leaders foster a culture where team members want to achieve and they recognize the abilities and achievements of others.
Leaders with vision have a sense of direction and are concerned about the future of their company. They're able to communicate their vision and gain commitment for goals and actions necessary to translate vision into reality.
Deb Dupree has been an active writer throughout her career in the corporate world and in public service since 1982. She has written numerous corporate and educational documents including project reports, procedures and employee training programs. She has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee.