18 Leadership Soft Skills And Their Benefits in the Workplace

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Soft skills comprise various personality traits and interpersonal capabilities that enable you to accomplish tasks, resolve problems, communicate with others, understand others' requirements and reflect on your own. Successful leadership leverages various soft skills to communicate with and motivate their teams. It is important to improve your soft skills as you grow in your career to increase your chances of progression into leadership roles. In this article, we discuss the benefits of having leadership soft skills and some important soft skills for effective leadership.

Benefits of having leadership soft skills in the workplace

Here are some benefits of having leadership soft skills in the workplace:

  • Enables you to connect with your employees: Soft skills help leaders positively connect with their employees. This allows leaders to establish good working relationships with their employees, which can also influence employee satisfaction, feelings of value and work ethic.

  • Ensures effective communication between upper management and employees: When leaders have good soft skills, it helps them communicate ideas between upper management professionals and their department employees. This helps ensure everyone works towards the same goal set by the organisation, and when necessary, employees have the opportunity to get their questions answered about a new guideline or initiative.

  • Helps you enforce rules and take disciplinary action when necessary: In leadership roles, professionals require the ability to take corrective action when necessary to uphold their employees' values, work activities and company culture. This means having the ability to address performance concerns and other conflicts with employees and doing this helps them to ensure employees get the required resources to succeed in their roles.

  • Gives you the confidence to carry out a leadership role: As a leader, having the ability to perform your job with confidence is very important. This helps you build trust with your team members and make timely decisions for your team.

Related: Soft Skills: Definitions And Examples

18 essential soft skills for leaders

Here are 18 important leadership soft skills:

1. Time management

Time management enables leaders to plan out their schedules and complete tasks according to upcoming events and deadlines. Having this skill also helps leaders set realistic deadlines for completing tasks allocated to the employees. It also helps them decide how much time they can allocate to which activities and which task requires more attention and priority.

2. Optimism

Optimism helps individuals take on positive mindsets in their personal and professional lives. Optimism is an important soft skill for a leader, as they are responsible for establishing workplace culture within their department. A leader's ability to stay positive, even during times of uncertainty, can help the team remain positive. Being optimistic also helps leaders create a positive work environment which can contribute to greater employee satisfaction and productivity.

3. Creativity

Individuals with creativity can find new methods to perform tasks, improve processes or even develop new and exciting ways for the business to explore. Creative leaders can develop unique solutions or ideas for various activities and inspire teamwork among employees in the workplace. This can also help motivate employees to think creatively and contribute their unique ideas to the organisation.

4. Interpersonal communication

Interpersonal skills help individuals adjust their language, communication strategies or channels to fit another person's communication requirements. In a leadership role, interpersonal communication skills help leaders communicate effectively with different employees and upper management professionals. This can influence productivity and an understanding of company goals or initiatives.

5. Attention to detail

Being detail-oriented refers to a person's ability to focus on both the small and important information while accomplishing goals. Leaders who have this trait often do precise and error-free work. Having excellent attention to detail enables leaders to catch mistakes in department activities and helps them identify areas that require working on. It also helps leaders identify employees who may require additional training or guidance to succeed in their roles.

Related: Attention To Detail: Definition, Examples And Tips

6. Critical thinking

Critical thinking highlights an individual's ability to review facts or evidence, make important connections or form judgments based on their analysis. Critical thinking is a crucial skill for leaders as it allows them to assess employee performance and evaluate potential business opportunities to determine the best actions to take. Usually, a critical thinker is independent, thoughtful and deliberative. Having this skill also helps leaders deduce meaningful insight from available information to make the right decisions.

7. Decisiveness

Decisiveness is a soft skill that helps leaders make important and convenient decisions about work activities. Leaders require to be decisive to make quick decisions in the workplace including, task delegation, employee ideas or deadline dates. This helps provide a sense of direction and authority to work activities and also helps ensure leaders maintain the productivity of their teams.

8. Patience

Leaders can benefit from having a good amount of patience for their roles. Being patient allows them to remain calm in stressful situations and demonstrate their authority among other employees. This skill of a leader can influence whether their employees come to them for advice or guidance about their roles. This can also influence the relationship between a leader and their teams and the way a leader's department functions.

9. Self-motivation

Self-motivation is how an individual can inspire and encourage themselves to complete tasks, meet goals or challenge themselves. External factors can not affect self-motivated leaders, as their own desire to excel is enough to encourage them. Usually, leaders carry out their role on a more independent basis that requires them to have a level of self-motivation to accomplish their job and meet their decided goals.

10. Communication

Good leadership also relies on effective communication. A powerful leader communicates clearly and precisely to make duties and responsibilities easier for their team members. Effective communication in a leadership role requires involving discussion approaches, interpreting body language and communicating with others in writing. Along with displaying good verbal communication, a leader also requires strong nonverbal communication.

Related: Verbal Communication Examples In The Workplace (With Tips)

11. Problem-solving skills

The ability to generate innovative solutions to workplace problems is another highly desirable characteristic that successful leadership may require. Effective problem-solving often necessitates maintaining a calm attitude and devising a step-by-step solution. Identifying ways to mitigate risks, resolve logistical challenges and implement strategies that align with business objectives are critical aspects of efficient problem-solving.

12. Integrity

Usually, people consider integrity as just sincerity or honesty, but in some cases, it also implies maintaining and standing by a set of strong values. Integrity in the workplace often entails making ethical decisions and helping the company carry a positive image. Generally, all businesses want to hire employees with a strong sense of integrity.

13. Conflict resolution

Strong leadership comprises the ability to resolve workplace conflicts. This requires the development of conflict resolution techniques, such as staying objective, meeting with the team for a feedback session and actively listening to the perspectives of all individuals. The ability to control extreme emotions and maintain workplace harmony is highly valuable.

Related: What Is Conflict Resolution? Using This Practice At Work

14. Motivational skills

Motivating and inspiring others are pivotal characteristics of effective leadership. Leading a group or team of employees requires motivating and inspiring them. Enthusiastic leaders who share their passion with their teams may have a better chance of maintaining high employee morale, improving efficiency and enhancing overall performance.

15. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to keep control over how you identify and communicate your emotions to others. Emotional intelligence requires self-awareness, mindfulness and intrapersonal skills. Leadership requires the ability to evaluate one's own emotions before facing different situations, identify stimulants around them that induce negative emotions and resolve internal conflicts before interacting with others.

16. Confidence

Effective leaders are usually confident in any situation, ready to face challenges and capable of taking command under adverse conditions. They are confident that their vision, plans and measures are in the organisation's best interests. This equips them to manage difficult situations with poise and ease. Exhibiting this confidence also helps employees develop a sense of trust in the leader's decision and guidance.

17. Empathy

To lead teams and direct processes effectively, skilful leaders rely on their ability to empathise with and understand others. Possessing the ability to approach team members with kindness and acceptance can inspire and foster healthy work relationships. Also, empathy demonstrates openness in leadership, which makes leaders more approachable and reliable for their teams.

18. Adaptability

Being adaptable to changes in the workplace is crucial for your growth and development as a leader. Effective leaders adjust to transitions by finding approaches for dealing with new or uncertain situations and initiate team engagement to ensure their teams have input during the process or operational modifications. Being adaptable also helps a leader create space for team members to adapt to changing situations and adjust their priorities accordingly.

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