As executives we should never underestimate the power of ‘soft skills’ and this has recently been highlighted by the Chairman and Co-Founder of LinkedIn Corporation, Reid Hoffman. Last week, I spoke about the importance of adaptability, a soft skill that is essential within leadership. Hoffman here relays the importance of collaboration as being key within any organisation to achieving success not just within leadership but within obtaining successful goals and outcomes within organizations.
I remember when I was growing up a saying from Epictetus, the Greek Sage and Stoic philosopher, ‘We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak’. There is some truth in this, it is important that leaders recognize the importance of being an effective communicator, and that’s not just delivering the communication. It’s also equally important to allow your colleagues to express their opinions and ideas, listening to others is key here.
As we know also, ‘one size does not fit all’, well it’s never fitted me anyway! My point on this is, great leaders are the ones that can use empathy effectively with their colleagues. A leader who can engage effectively with their team without a ‘one size fits all’ approach counts for a lot, it shows you are genuinely interested in the individual and are making a concerted effort to see things from their point of view. Some of my best leaders in the workplace have been the ones able to demonstrate this with sincerity, and there can be no doubt that this soft skill will lead to a stronger collaborative team in any organization.
I would encourage any executive who does not yet have one, to consider the importance of an executive Biography, a biography is a great way of expressing your soft skills to executive recruiters and provides a concise summary of your unique value proposition as an executive. We recently did a webinar on this with Executive Career Coach, Tim Windhof 'Competitive Edge: Unleash the Power of Executive Bios', which is available on demand for our GatedTalent premium members.
LinkedIn released its annual Global Talent Trends 2019 report, which cited soft skills as vitally important for the future of the workplace. Soft skills—like creativity, persuasion and adaptability—refer to personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.