No Image Available

Kelly Smith


Staff Writer

Read more from Kelly Smith

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Seven soft skills that every leader should develop


Kelly Smith dishes out seven key soft leadership skills that make for great success in management.

Business prowess and the ability to command and lead have for a long time been associated with efficient management and leadership, but big changes are on the way. Together with various transitions in business, management is also changing to incorporate more soft skills than ever. A recent study from Harvard Business Review demonstrated that the requirements for a leadership position have shifted to include many soft skills. Here are some of the most important soft skills every manager should develop and cultivate.


The ability to communicate, be it in speech or writing, is extremely important. Every leader should know not only what to say, but how to say it – great managers are able to articulate their point with a directness and influence that leaves no room for doubt or second thoughts.

Great communication skills are not just about speaking, but listening as well – a good leader can distil the essential parts of a dialogue and work them to his or her advantage. This becomes particularly important during negotiations – another crucial soft skill of every exceptional manager.

Strategic thinking

Great leaders have foresight and know how to make it become a reality. They're able to perceive opportunities and direct others to benefit from them. Leaders that can project an attractive future will never complain of a lack of engaged and loyal employees, who will simply want to follow someone with a vision that ensures the success of each and every team member.


People like to follow those who can project positive feelings – be it calmness, motivation or excitement. A good leader knows how to induce confidence in their workers. Instead of employing the logic of 'command and control', good leaders gain followers because people respect them and because of their ability to motivate and inspire. Every leader is able to push hard for results, but few have it in them to really engage others in their projects.


People imagine leaders supervising a team from the outside. This image of leadership is changing, as managers become more attuned to the dynamics of their team and use their soft leadership skills to facilitate collaboration. Mediating conflicts, overcoming communication challenges and inspiring the team to deliver projects of a high standard comprise the abilities of a great leader, who today is nothing short of a team player.

Influencing others

In order to know how to influence other people, from customers to colleagues, great leaders need to take their time understanding others and what drives their behaviours. Figuring out a target audience is key to succeeding in business, and great managers are able to not only grab customers' attention, but also convince them to support their product or service.


Instead of expecting their team members to change their working habits and personalities, great leaders are able to adapt to their teams and lead them to success. If they rule with an iron fist, managers simply risk losing the unique identity of their team by limiting the opportunities for self-expression.


Humility essentially means that a leader is modest about his or her position in the rank, and refrains from adopting the management style of a power-hungry megalomaniac. A good leader is able to allow others to lead with him, because they know how to balance confidence and humility. Instead of feeding his or her ego with the power and authority that comes with the function, a great leader is able to blend in and set a rhythm for the whole company to follow. 

Kelly Smith works at CourseFinder, an Australian online education resource. She also provides career advice for students and job seekers and works as a freelance writer

No Image Available
Kelly Smith

Staff Writer

Read more from Kelly Smith

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!