Everyone wants to be an effective leader. But what does that mean? Businesses often equip employees with hard skills. They can easily be measured and include things like computer skills and technical knowledge that can be obtained through on-the-job training and formal education.

While oftentimes overlooked because they’re more difficult to teach and measure, soft skills can help us do our jobs effectively and efficiently. They become even more critical when you’re in a leadership position. Here are some of the key soft skills to be an effective leader:

  1. Authenticity:  Be real, exhibit self-confidence, courage and compassion, know your worth and belonging. Very simply, authenticity means you’re true to your own values, you’re honest with yourself and others and you take responsibility for your mistakes. When you authentically lead, you boost your integrity, become more trustworthy in the eyes of others and create an environment to realize your (and your team’s) full potential.
  2. Build trust:  Building trust takes time and is made up of a combination of things that include emotional intelligence, vulnerability, empathy, leaning into discomfort, connection and showing you care. Lack of trust can lead to decreased productivity and employee dissatisfaction. Trust in the workplace fosters psychological safety, mutual respect, honesty and ultimately, helps to build a diverse and inclusive culture.
  3. Collaboration:  Effective communication skills, storytelling, teamwork, adaptability, time management and motivation play into collaboration. Collaboration promotes successful work towards a common goal, holding each other accountable and respecting other perspectives.
  4. Critical thinking:  Leaders are more effective when exuding creativity, innovation, curiosity and getting to the “why” for both employees and clients. Critical thinking helps to build on each other’s unique ideas and create bigger and better solutions than on your own.

Even when technical skills are present, it’s challenging to be an effective leader without soft skills. Team members will flourish and be inspired by leaders who are authentic, trustworthy, collaborative and have strong critical thinking skills.