Improving Soft Skills:

Whether you lead a small business or a large corporation, creating a soft skills development plan will differentiate you from the mediocre. As a business coach working with leaders, we focus on People + Process = Profit.

For the average company or leader, intention is placed on process alone to drive profit. But if you look at any size organization with an active founder, you will notice an intentional purpose behind the people component. You will also see that they likely employ soft skills development training to ensure that they attract team members with talent and a core values match.

Further, those companies would like their leaders to be focused on retaining talent. How do they do this? By learning, developing, and improving their soft skills, which are noted below in some of our favorite books. Doing this improves retention, productivity, and overall results.

Improving Team Communication: Fierce Conversations by Dr. Susan Scott

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

As the expert on vulnerability, Dr. Brené Brown takes us on a journey to become brave leaders overcoming fear and shame by coming to terms with uncertainty and vulnerability.

In my own career and practice as an executive business coach, being an authentic leader is a well-accepted practice and noted quality of great leaders. What people leaders miss is the practice, effort, development and feelings that accompany defining, growing, and improving the skill of authenticity.

Those that are successful understand that soft skills in general, and this skill in particular, are not something you learn once. It requires practice and effort, yet the outcome is notable.

Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott

Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott

At Leader’s Cut, we believe that there are six key skills for leaders to master to build independent, accountable teams.

The first is communication. With that in mind, Dr. Susan Scott builds on Dr. Brown’s expertise of vulnerability with guidance for having conversations that transition from being a mile wide and an inch deep to becoming an inch wide and a mile deep.

She describes her method of conversation as interrogating reality, provoking learning, tackling tough challenges, and enriching relationships.

Read her book, follow her seven principles of fierce conversations, and experience the rich relationships you’ll build in your organization.

Improving Team Communication: Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

This unconventional recommendation from former hostage negotiator Chris Voss is a master class in negotiation conversation.

Many may not recognize how prevalent negotiation is in our everyday lives when reviewing soft skills development.

In line with the skills of vulnerability and deep conversations, Chris will help you become aware of your body language, tone of voice, and word choice because they substantially impact the message you send and how it is received.

You can see how these recommendations build on the accountability theme; we own our feelings, thoughts, approach, and approach.

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Presence by Amy Cuddy

Social psychologist Dr. Amy Cuddy has researched the physical stances of people communicating powerfully, whether in presentation, negotiation, or conversation.

She then tested whether or not the complement is also true. Could we change our physical stance and feel differently about our message? Would that then translate into a receptive audience? It does.

While soft skills take considerable ‘inside work’ as we say, Dr. Cuddy adds that how we hold our physical bodies impacts our self-perception and, ultimately, how the world receives us.

If you have a moment of skepticism as I did the first time I heard it, simply put her advice into action, and you’ll be a believer.

Develop Your Soft Skills

Among the many mediocre managers you have had or will have in your career if you reflect on those that evoke a passion and energy within you, you’ll find that they display a keen awareness for the soft skills.

Make no mistake; great leaders possess operational discipline and are accountable to a Profit & Loss statement. What sets them apart is their commitment to communication, delegation, motivation, recruitment, collaboration, and development using well-honed and ever-improving soft skills.

At Leader’s Cut, we begin our business coaching engagements, including our complimentary Breakthrough Strategy Session, with a soft skills personality assessment using Talent Dynamics.

While reading some of the best business books and creating a soft skills development plan for yourself will put you on the road to improvement, working with an executive business coach will fuel the fire of growth. Start with a Meet & Greet to see if we ‘click.’ Or if you want to really kick the tires and experience what a coaching relationship looks, feels, and sounds like, then the complimentary Breakthrough Strategy Session is for you. If you enjoyed this blog, sign up for our newsletter and never miss an issue.

See also: 3 Tips for Effectively Managing Time

As a strong leader, you want to role model good listening skills at every opportunity. If unsure where to begin, schedule a Meet & Greet, and talk with Ken Kilday.

When working with an individual leader, or their entire leadership team, Ken uses tools like Talent Dynamics to begin the journey of self-awareness necessary to be a great communicator that listens well.

A team that listens to one another has focus and intention, is efficient in the process, moves more quickly to solve problems, builds relationships, and enjoys improved profitability. Call us today to build a plan for better listening skills on your team.

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