Now more than ever, people are looking toward leaders for guidance on how to navigate times of uncertainty. More than ever, the need for reliable, steady and trustworthy leadership is crucial. In efforts to demonstrate effective and transparent leadership, managers should lean into their soft skills to maximize trust throughout their teams while working to minimize stress and anxiety.
So what are soft skills? Soft skills are character traits, personal attributes, and other non-technical abilities that help you work and communicate with other people. Some soft skills you might have to study and learn, and others might come to you naturally. Listening, communication and delegation are all examples of soft skills. Here are our tips on how to develop several in-demand soft skills during times of uncertainty.
1. Exercise emotional intelligence.
Lead with empathy and compassion. When communicating with your team and others, leaders should recognize the uncertainty and anxiety employees are experiencing and provide insight and compassion to them. Employees are now relying on leaders to give a sense of hope and stability, and managers should make it clear that there will be better days ahead, ultimately providing optimism remotely. Teams should get in the habit of prompting others to share where they're coming from and carefully listening to their responses to foster and build trust.
2. Be transparent to build credibility.
To further increase and strengthen connections amongst teams, leaders should be transparent and honest with their communication. Effective communication is critical as leaders shouldn't try to hide unfortunate news or a shift in direction. Managers who don't share all of the facts become less credible and trusted, which could have worse consequences down the road.
We're all experiencing COVID-19 together. True collaboration happens when team members have empathy for and understanding of each other. Encouraging your team to work cross-functionally will foster collaboration and develop new spurts of creativity within different projects.
4. Be Adaptable.
Expand your mindset. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances starts with an open mindset that's willing to embrace changes across the board. Challenge yourself to become a problem solver when faced with adversity. It's easier to be adaptable when you have several other ideas and solutions in your toolkit. For every project, think of a few alternative ways it could be accomplished, and get in the habit of testing ideas to ensure you're always learning and refining your approach to your work.
Do you have any of the below soft-skills? Check-in with yourself.
- Time management
- Ability to perform under pressure
- Work ethic
Remember, you aren’t alone. Ask friends, colleagues, and even former employers which soft skills come to mind when they think of you. You can also ask them to bring up specific examples of when you used that soft skill well. Choose 1-2 soft skills from the above list to develop and make a plan to actively improve them.