Companies place a premium on “hard” technical abilities, as they’re necessary to effectively handle specific job responsibilities. Technical abilities also a focus for company managers because they are easy to evaluate.
However, “soft” interpersonal skills are just as critical, particularly for those in leadership. To create and maintain a strong team, a manager should know how to effectively interact with their team members.
Supervisors should always be trying to improve their team building, active listening, and adaptability skills – ideally doing so with the support of their organization. If managers’ soft skills aren’t supported, employees will likely find it difficult to work together.
Essential Soft Skills for Elite Management
One of the most critical soft skills for a manager is being dependable. While executives must be able to depend on their managers to execute strategies, employees must be able to depend on their manager for direction and feedback.
Managers must also be good communicators. They must be candid and transparent if they are to succeed. They should also be able to explain the delicate or complex subject matter.
The best managers are also great at building a sense of community and camaraderie. They understand how to bring people together, despite having different jobs, work styles, and personalities. Good managers know how to make a team of employees more than the sum of their parts.
Mental flexibility is another key soft skill for those in management. Managers must be able to adapt to shifts in strategy, new staff members, and critical situations. A mentally flexible manager can roll with the punches and find opportunity in the midst of crisis.
Developing Soft Skills
Many companies have formal leadership development programs that make a deliberate effort to improve their leaders’ soft skills and in employees aspiring to leadership positions. For example, AT&T has a formal leadership development program that offers aspiring managers the chance to learn the business from many different points of view.
Whether your company chooses mostly recruit leaders from outside or groom current staff members, your business can likely reap the benefits of a formal leadership training program.
A less formal and lower-cost way for companies to develop their leaders’ soft skills is for executives to personally engage their managers and offer them in-house opportunities to learn and grow. Top executives should regularly check-in with their managers to talk about their professional development. This offers an opportunity for feedback and discussions on career growth through soft skills development.
Executives should also focus on gaining an understanding of their leaders and top staff members on a personal level. This helps foster soft skills development, and it also models a desired behavior for these middle managers. Executives, supervisors, and staff members can all benefit from getting to know one another. All parties will feel more enthusiastic about working with people they understand on a deeper level.
Simply getting to know and talking with managers goes a long way to not only growing soft skills, but also staving off low morale during difficult times.
We Can Help You Recruit and Develop Top Managers
At Superior Resource Group, we help our clients identify, recruit and develop their business leaders. If your company is currently looking to improve its roster of leadership talent, please contact us today.