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Why and When Soft Skills Matter in Leadership: Relationship building

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It doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in, people need soft skills to be successful on the job and for your organisation to build longevity. Once technical skills are mastered, soft skills make the most difference both with internal stakeholders and external customers or clients. Three essential soft skills include communication, the ability to build trust and dealing with issues effectively when they arise. Why do they matter and what do they look like?  

Relationship Building 

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in–  whether you’re a tradie, a banker, or a government regulator, having good relationships with others is key to producing positive outcomes on any project. Here are some tips to help build rapport:  

  • The little things count. There is more to people than just the role they’ve been hired to do. Taking time out to ask about someone’s family, hobbies, other projects they’re working on, and showing an interest in them personally is a great way to build rapport. When people feel listened to and respected, it builds trust, means projects run more smoothly and communication tends to be more open.  
  • Give credit, where credit is due. Think back to the last time you received a compliment – It felt good didn’t it?All too often when we’re in the thick of things, we take items like projects running smoothly and positive customer feedback for granted. Good leaders understand the importance of letting those who have performed well, know it. Comment’s like ‘Nice work’ or shout-outs among your team can go a long way in terms of improving team morale, encouraging good behaviour, and building positive relationships.   
  • Give people time. It’s easy to get so focused on a project or deadline that you forget to take the time to reassess and deal with staff/stakeholders that have comments or queries. Taking the time out to talk it through with them may not seem like a priority, but it’s something worth doing. Often, they may have stumbled across issues you weren’t aware of, or a better way of doing something. Sometimes they just need a bit more clarity so that they can get on with their job, or they simply need to vent. Giving your time to someone shows them that they’re valued, that they’re heard and that you’re a leader they can look up to (and not a dictator).   

As the way people work continues to change at an accelerated page, developing soft skills are more critical than ever before. Organisations who provide soft skills training report seeing a positive impact – both in peoples’ wellbeing and in organisations’ bottom line – that contributes to business longevity.    

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