Soft Skills 101

July 09, 2021
MRA Edge
Leadership & Management & Supervision
Talent Management
Read time: 2 mins

As employees continue to work from home, and many companies evolve this into a permanent organizational structure, leaders must continue to find ways to connect and engage with their workforce regularly. Leaders need to interact more frequently to maintain a company culture that attracts and keeps its top talent. Corporate monthly emails will not cut it.

Because of this, leaders need to brush up on their soft skills. Today, critical skillsets for managers are empathy, inclusivity, and a high emotional quotient (EQ).

Q. What exactly are soft skills?

A. For some, soft skills are considered “fluffy” optional leadership characteristics. But that is not true. Soft skills are personal habits and traits that shape how you work. Qualities like adaptability, openmindedness, and integrity need to be front and center of any management style.

Q. When do you know someone needs to brush up on their soft skills?

A. Feedback from others in the organization can be insightful when soft skills are lacking. Other signs include when a team’s results routinely fall short of expectations or when there are recurring issues.

Q. How can a leader polish his or her soft skills?

A. Attending training at MRA is always a great start. We teach leaders self-awareness, administer assessments, and provide 360-degree evaluations. There are also many articles and books to read up on, as well as following subject matter experts’ blogs and posts on social media.

Q. How can leaders incorporate empathy, inclusivity, and a high EQ into their everyday management style?

A. Managers are encouraged to be more intentional with the efforts they put forth when working with their employees. Making time for practicing soft skills is key because it takes work and design to incorporate them into working relationships.

Q. How can leaders use soft skills to attract and retain top talent?

A. Start at the very beginning with a successful onboarding process. Listening to and learning how your new employee works while focusing on quality communication sets a positive tone from the get-go.

Making employees feel included and like they have someone to talk to about anything work-related are areas to focus your attention on. Not only will this help the employee, but it will also improve the culture—a positive culture heavily relies on mastering soft skills.

Retention is imperative as the workforce struggles to fill positions. Managers will have better success keeping people onboard, happy, fulfilled, and engaged if they take the time and energy to sharpen their soft skills.