Soft skills are a topic of hot debate. But what are they? Essentially, they refer to personality traits, language affinity, social grace, habits, optimism, and various other things. Good leaders have excellent soft skills, which complement their hard – technical – skills. Karen Phillips and Infor CEO Charles Phillips, mistress and master of the Phillips Charitable Organizations, understand the need of both soft and hard skills to be true leaders.
The Importance of Soft Skills
For an organization to be successful, soft skills are hugely important at every level. If all members of staff are properly trained in soft skills, they will be better able to deal with each other, and with the customers. This is why soft skills training is becoming so widespread. In fact, training designed for business leaders now almost inevitably includes some degree of soft skills training at all. Even if training is delivered online, it will focus on elements such as positivity, communication, and more.
For those looking at developing some sort of soft skills training, it is vital that they look at materials that can be edited or customized to their particular needs. There should not be a one size fits all solution, as every individual and every organization is unique. As a business leader, this will help you to cut down significant on development time as well. Did you know, for instance, that every hour of training usually takes as much as eight hours to develop? And that is without getting materials together, creating guides, and more.
A successful business leader, however, does understand how important it is to make sure every employee in their organization is well versed in soft skills. However, time is valuable. As a result, there is a strong belief now in ‘training the trainer’. This means that a single individual can be trained in something, and that they can then share their new found skills with the rest of the team. This saves both time and money and actually further develops soft skills. In order to train, even if it is just by role modeling behaviors, people have to have excellent communication skills. They must be inspirational and fun to work with, all of which are kinds of soft skills.
Once upon a time, it was believed that people were born with soft skills, meaning they either had them, or not. While it is certainly true that certain personality traits seem to have a natural affinity for certain soft skills, it is certainly not true that they cannot be learned. And one of the best ways to learn them is to see them in action through someone who is a role model, who people look up to. Those, in turn, are the hallmarks of a good leader. People like Charles Phillips try to embody this, while at the same time encouraging others to behave in the same way, enabling them to reach their full potential and become inspirational leaders in their own right.