Why soft skills matter in management

To get, and keep a job in most industries – particularly at management level – you typically need a repertoire of technical skills.

And while technical skills may get a foot in the door, it’s people skills that open most doors. Problem solving, delegation, motivating staff, and team building are far more effective when delivered by managers with the right soft skills. Essentially, possession of these soft skills is the key ingredient to performing as a leader rather than a manager.

The problem is, the importance of these soft skills is often undervalued and there is far less training provided for them than hard ‘technical’ skills. Assuming that soft skills are universal leads to much frustration, which is why it’s so important to focus as much on this area of training and development.

It’s important to recognise the vital role soft skills play within your management teams and not only work on developing them within this level, but encourage their development throughout the organisation. Areas to examine and evaluate include:

• Coaching and mentoring
• Effective change management
• Negotiation skills
• Conflict resolution
• Clarity of communications
• Creative thinking

The more of these skills your management staff demonstrate, the better people’s soft skills are likely to be within your organisation. Each has a significant impact on the attitude a person brings to interactions with clients, customers, colleagues, supervisors, and other stakeholders and ultimately the more positive someone’s attitude is, the better that person’s relationships will be.

Soft skills are increasingly becoming the hard skills of today’s work force. It’s just not enough to be highly trained in technical skills without developing the softer, interpersonal and relationship-building skills that help people to communicate and collaborate effectively.

In a world where businesses fighting for market-share, these people skills are more critical than ever as organisations strive to offer meaningful ways to remain competitive and be productive.

Teamwork, leadership, and communication are underpinned by soft skills development and since each is an essential element for organisational and personal success, investing in your management teams and developing these skills is vital and can bring great rewards.

Nicola Parr
Training manager

Holt Green Training