What makes a great leader? Is it the ability to turn goals into accomplishments? Is it a strong command of hard, technical skills? While technical capabilities are certainly important, even more so are the less tangible qualities like ease of communication and the ability to empower and engage others. Unfortunately for many businesses, these important virtues often get the label “soft skills” and therefore take a back seat to measurable traits like conversion rates and new leads generated.
It’s much more advantageous in business, and in life, to think of these invaluable, central characteristics as core skills. Remember that people are always an organization’s greatest investment and its greatest asset. When you make skill like good communication, transparency, and the capacity to motivate others priorities, you give leaders the resources they need to help their teams achieve success. Here are three ways to start shifting the mindset at your company from soft skills to core skills.
Making core skills part of the culture at your organization starts with assessing your present circumstances. First, determine the extent to which your organization places importance on developing core, people skills. Does it find traits like empowerment integral to its success, or do these so-called “soft skills” play second fiddle to measurable things like sales and marketing? Once you know where your organization currently stands on core skills, take a look at its larger objectives and goals. Determine if these could be achieved more effectively with an increased emphasis on core skills, as well as whether or not you are positioned to create change.
If you think you’re in a good position to start changing the conversation from soft skills to core skills, it’s time to create an action plan. Begin by assessing your organization’s current leadership climate. Take a look at some of your leaders and evaluate their:
After taking a look at the current leadership culture, identify how a shift in emphasis on developing core skills would help leaders better meet current and long-term business objectives.
Now that you’ve done the legwork, it’s time to take action. Be prepared to share your analysis with colleagues, especially upper management. Seek their support in making core skills training a chief priority for your organization, so that you can begin to create a company-wide culture of learning. Next, work with individual departments and senior leaders to create a core skills training program. Determine what kinds of resources you will need in order to develop implement these training sessions. It’s also a good idea to create a thorough game plan with specific deadlines and goals in order to see your new core skills training program through to success.
Core skills are too important to waste, as entire businesses can crumble when their leaders don’t have the right resources to engage, inspire, and connect with their teams. Instead, give your leaders the tools they need to succeed by making an investment in people and people skills.