Management soft skills Ellis Fox Blog

What soft skills can help your career progression?

The marketplace is changing. Whereas once the focus was on qualifications, skills and experience, today companies are looking for more. Knowledge isn’t much use if you can’t disseminate it to your team and get them to implement your vision. So let’s talk for a minute about soft skills and why they are a key element of what companies look for when considering candidates for senior positions.

Active listening

To be able to get the best from your team, they need to feel valued. And this happens when they know their manager/director genuinely listens to them when discussing an issue, a concept or a project. Listening provides an opportunity to get to know individuals, their strengths, their skills and what they’re passionate about and learning this helps you guide them to make the most of their skills and interests in their work function.

Facilitating change

While change management may be a specific area of expertise, the current marketplace is characterized by uncertainty and disruption. Being able to assess risks and mitigate them as well as being able to navigate unexpected change is an essential skill for senior management. Being able to create flexible structures and being able to look for the opportunities in the midst of chaos is what companies need in their management teams.

Creativity and innovation

Aligning with the ability to create opportunities out of challenges is being able to develop a culture of creativity and innovation within an organisation. Innovation happens most effectively when employees are given an opportunity to try new ideas, and even if the ideas fail or need to be adapted, the focus is on learning. This not only creates better employee engagement, it can also be where ideas become solutions for problems.

Communications

Business trends are leading towards greater collaboration and this requires strong leadership and excellent communication skills. The ability to communicate well with people with varying levels of expertise on all levels of the organisation facilitates better collaboration. At the same time managers need to be able to sell ideas to the executives at board level and get their buy in. It’s all about being able to build relationships and communication is a huge part of this.

Soft skills are focused on developing more engaged employees and more cohesive and productive teams, because this leads to a more robust and productive organisation. Leaders are no longer just decision makers, which soft skills do you think are most important to develop?