How can leaders develop qualities like compassion and confidence?
Soft skills can distinguish between a good and great leader. This applies to both HR and business leaders. Any individual can hold a title and have a team of staffers, but you’ll only be as effective as your ability to communicate, be compassionate or manage uncertainty. Soft skills are defined by Oxford as personal attributes that enable an individual to interact effectively and harmoniously with others. Hence, it’s arguably tougher to develop than ‘hard’ or technical skills, which can be easily learned through methods like repetitive practice sessions. Being a ‘personal’ attribute, sometimes it may feel like you either have the quality or you don’t. HRD finds out if individuals can find effective ways to practice critical soft skills and improve their leadership capabilities.
Skill 1: Ability to navigate uncertainty with confidence
First essential soft skill is the ability to manage uncertainty. Today’s working world is ripe with uncertainty – whether it’s caused by things like the accelerated digitalization of workplaces, changing consumer demands, or even pandemics. In any case, leaders typically have the same amount of information as employees but are looked upon to navigate uncertainty. In a people-centred crisis like a global pandemic, for example, HR leaders are seen as ‘people experts’ and expected to lead the charge as well as coach other C-suite leaders to muster some semblance of stability.
Whether you’re an HR or business leader, most would agree that leaders are critical in managing uncertainty. About 60% of executives in the 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey said that leadership is important to prepare for unknown futures. “While much of leadership has historically been about setting direction and ensuring compliance, now effective leadership is shifting to preparing for the unpredictable by coaching, teaming, and fostering workers’ ability to learn and adapt,” cited the study.