These days, it is quite easy to train yourself in hard skills. Accessible, post-secondary education and sites like Lynda.com and YouTube have made it possible for nearly everyone to gain quantifiable skills related to every field of work. So how does one stand out from the highly-educated crowd and prove worthiness for a leadership role?
The answer is soft skills. These less-tangible traits are rarely accompanied by a diploma, and are often built out of experience. Regardless of your current position, demonstrating these abilities in your day-to-day work will help to showcase your readiness for a leadership role.
These are 5 soft skills that will indicate to higher-ups that you’re ready for more responsibility.
Emotional Control in Times of Action
While we never recommend ignoring your emotions, it is important to understand how they might be affecting your decision-making and critical thinking abilities. Regardless of whether those feelings are positive or negative, being able to control and separate them from the task at hand is essential to successfully leading a team. As Dale Carnegie said, “we have to keep our emotions out of our thinking.”
Creation and Maintenance of Positive Relationships in the Workplace
When you can develop genuine connections with the people you lead, you’re more likely to create a workplace of engagement. When this happens, team members enjoy their jobs and feel inspired to work toward the organization’s greater goals. Remember Dale Carnegie’s 9th Secret of Success: “Make the other person feel important, and do so sincerely,” and you’ll be on the right path to successful leadership.
Empathizing with Colleagues and Clients
When you can honestly see a situation from another person’s perspective, you’re engaging in empathy. This is an invaluable skill to have in any career – whether you’re a team leader, sales professional, or customer service representative. Regardless of your position, being able to understand someone else’s emotions, opinions, and problems helps you to connect with them.
As Dale Carnegie once wrote, “Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance, and kindness.” So the next time you encounter a clash of wills with a colleague, instead of writing them off as uninformed or overly difficult, try honestly to see things from his or her perspective, and experience the benefits of friendly collaboration.
Dale Carnegie understood the merits of inspirational leadership: “If you and I will inspire the people with whom we come into contact to a realization of the hidden treasures they possess, we can do far more than change people. We can literally transform them.”
In addition to being adept at problem-solving and decision-making, the most successful leaders are skilled in inspiring and motivating the people they lead. By encouraging and enabling team members to be and achieve the best, the successful leader builds a confident and competent team ready to take on the challenges of shifting marketplaces and business landscapes.
Preventing and Putting Out Fires
Are you able to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency? Twentieth-century Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis saw this skill as a sign of a true leader. Possessing this ability will save your business time, money, and frustrations – making you an irreplaceable member of the team.
Sometimes, however, problems cannot be foreseen. In these cases, having the capacity to deal with them in a timely and satisfactory manner is the next best thing. Dale Carnegie’s advice for handling worry provides a great framework for basic problem-solving:
“We must equip ourselves to deal with different kinds of worries by learning the three basic steps of problem analysis. The three steps are: 1. Get the facts. 2. Analyze the facts. 3. Arrive at a decision – and then act on that decision.”
Looking to take your soft skills one step further? Register for the world-famous Dale Carnegie Course, and learn how to build trust and motivate people to act; project an enthusiastic attitude; communicate logically, clearly and concisely; and energize and engage listeners. You’ll also discover ways to manage stress and minimize worry, encourage positive thinking, and commit to continuous improvement.