A Little Empathy and Other “Soft Skills” Can go a Long Way in High-Level Leadership Positions. But Why Wait to Start Cultivating Them?
Whether you spend it coding, sharpening your design skills, or getting an MBA, the start of your career is a crucial time to develop “hard” skills–the technical abilities that let you get a foot in the door and lead to your first few promotions. But further on, a shift happens: the skills that secured you those initial roles become progressively less important. Sure, you still need to broaden your knowledge base, but the higher up you go, the more your leadership abilities and management experience matter. The “soft,” or interpersonal, skills come to the fore.
As part of my current research, I’ve been interviewing successful founders, funders, and organizational leaders to understand how we can help more people learn the skills they’ll need to succeed in the future knowledge-economy–and not only that, but learn them more easily and earlier. These are a few skills that effective leaders need–but that younger professionals can (and should) start developing long before their first managerial roles.
And second, make time in or around your workday just to veg out. “My first jobs were mowing lawns and raking leaves, long hours where I’d lose track of time and suddenly figure it all out,” says Rip Gerber, Chief Marketing and Alliance Officer at cloud CRM company Vlocity. “I’ve pursued that quiet state of mind throughout my career, by walking to work, marathon-running, or writing for a few hours. My biggest and most creative decisions spawn from those states.”
By looking back on how you solved problems or managed people, you are able to observe yourself in action. Successful leaders are retrospective across all facets of their life.
– Rip Gerber, Chief Marketing & Alliance Officer, Vlocity
Read the full article at Fast Company