by N. Purcell | March 27, 2023 | 5 Min Read

Who needs soft skills development training?


In today's fast-paced and competitive business world, technical skills and knowledge are no longer enough to ensure success as a leader.

Over 61% of professionals say soft skills in the workplace are just as important as hard skills—but we think soft skills matter more. Training on soft leadership skills such as communication, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence has become essential to developing effective leaders.

Read on to learn the importance of soft skills in leadership, who needs soft leadership skills, and how to implement a soft skills development plan.

The importance of soft skills in leadership

Soft skills are non-technical skills that characterize how a person works and interacts with others, while hard skills are quantifiable technical capabilities required to perform a job. A healthy balance of soft and technical skill development is necessary for successful leadership.

You can’t do your job if you don’t have the technical know-how, but leaders do more than check tasks off of a to-do list. In our book, there are two types of leaders: strategic and tactical.

The work of strategic leaders (leaders) is qualitative while the work of tactical leaders (managers) is quantitative. Tactical leaders manage day-to-day operations, completing a set of tasks every day that can be measured. Strategic leaders cast a vision, inspire others, and coach them towards success, which is more intangible.

What’s the importance of soft skills in leadership?

Developing soft skills for leaders and managers is important because they can have a significant impact on organizational performance:

  • Higher retention rates
  • Improved engagement
  • Healthier team dynamics
  • Better customer service
  • Increased productivity

But each type of leader needs different training on soft skills. Soft skills aren’t reserved for top-level managers. Leaders at all levels should grow in these essential skills – or “power” skills as we like to call them.

Soft skills for leadership and team management

Here’s a look at key soft skills for leadership and team management across different levels of an organization:

Lower-level managers

Lower-level managers are responsible for managing teams, executing tasks and projects, and maintaining positive relationships with team members and clients. Soft skills development training for these tactile leaders should focus on:

  • Communication: Clearly convey ideas and information in writing and in person, actively listen, and consider non-verbal cues.
  • Relationship building: Build positive relationships with team members, superiors, and clients.
  • Attention to detail: Review the execution of tasks to ensure that project deliverables meets quality standards.

Middle-level managers

Middle-managers are responsible for overseeing multiple teams or departments and ensuring that they’re aligned with the organization's goals. They act as a bridge between senior management and lower-level managers.

  • Conflict resolution: Mediate disputes and resolve conflicts that arise within their team or between departments.
  • Change management: Lead teams through changes in the organization and ensure a smooth transition.
  • Collaboration: Work effectively with other departments and stakeholders.

Top-level managers

Finally, a soft skills development plan must extend to the top of the organization. Top-level managers are strategic leaders responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organization and overseeing its execution.

  • Vision setting: Set a long-term vision for the organization and communicate it effectively to the team.
  • Strategic thinking: Analyze information and make informed decisions based on the big picture.
  • Risk management: Identify potential risks and develop plans to mitigate them.
  • Inspire: Encourage employees to contribute their best effort, motivate them to follow through with tasks, and lead by example.

When leaders pay attention to skill development, they can be more effective in their roles and have a greater impact on your organization.

Implement a soft skills development plan with Unboxed Training & Technology

Once you understand the importance of soft skills in leadership, the natural question becomes, “How do I develop these soft skills for leadership and team management?”

When combined with hard skills, soft skills can take a leader from good to great. And one of the best ways to help leaders across an organization step up their game is through soft skills development training delivered via a learning management system (LMS).

Spoke® LMS makes applying soft skills for leaders and managers easier than ever. With full customization and reporting capabilities, Spoke® allows you to track learner progress, provide ongoing feedback, and drive personal development.

Whether you’re looking to upskill individuals or entire teams, Spoke® can help you deliver leadership soft skills training across your organization. Schedule a demo today to learn more about how Spoke® can make training on soft skills fun, engaging, and effective.

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