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Leadership skills - 6 soft skills a competent leader needs

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What actually makes a really good leader? More importantly, how does one become such a leader and thus increase the productivity and success of the company? In short, it takes leadership skills. Here you will learn why leadership competence is so important, which 6 soft skills form the core of leadership competence and how you can learn to lead competently.

Why leadership skills & competences are so important

Competent leadership behavior increases employee motivation and satisfaction. Scientific studies show this time and again. With motivation and satisfaction, employee productivity and commitment also increase. Such a change has a positive effect on the growth and success of companies.

Suboptimal leadership therefore hinders the long-term success of a company. It causes high absenteeism and unmotivated, ineffective "work to rule. If companies want to prove themselves fit for the future, they need competent managers.

What is leadership competence?

Whether a manager's behavior is competent does not depend on a single skill. Leadership competence is a collective term for various competencies.

In addition to professional competence or professional qualifications, soft skills are particularly important. They enable the manager to lead employees competently and to motivate them to organize their work. In this way, they ensure that the goals set can be achieved.

The good thing is that soft skills can be trained! By learning and training important soft skills and using their own strengths, every manager can develop their own authentic leadership style and thus generate long-term success.

Soft skills: the building blocks of competent leadership

Soft skills are the essential components of leadership competence. They differ from hard skills, which are technical knowledge and abilities. Unlike the latter, soft skills are difficult to measure. Soft skills are the personal, methodological and social competencies that a manager should possess in order to lead competently.

Grafische Darstellung von Führungskompetenz anhand eines illustrierten Kopfes aus dem eine Pflanze wächst

These 6 soft skills make you a good leader

The following 6 soft skills are particularly important for authentic leadership. If a leader's behavior is guided by these soft skills, motivation, satisfaction and success can grow.

1. Challenge and encourage employees

One of the most important soft skills of competent leaders is the encouragement of individual employees. In the actual work situation, the behavior of the manager should be characterized by appreciation of the work performed and by fair feedback. This allows employees to learn and improve without feeling frustrated by possible mistakes.

Employees should also be empowered to organize themselves. In this way, they develop a sense of responsibility for their tasks and can better recognize the importance of each individual contribution to success.

A competent manager should also ensure that the general conditions are in place to enable the team to work well. The right composition of the team is important in order to achieve common goals.

In particular, this soft skill includes correctly assessing the abilities of individual employees and supporting them in the further development of their careers and skills through targeted promotion. Distribute tasks according to the abilities and interests of the employees! This way, you get the best out of your team and promote overall satisfaction. By tapping into your employees' potential, they will feel challenged and motivated.

2. Organize and structure

Of course, competent leadership also includes organizing and structuring in a competent way. Here, too, the right team composition and the creation of conducive framework conditions play a role.

It is also important to delegate tasks sensibly and to communicate clearly. Employees are all the more motivated the more clearly they can see why tasks have been assigned to them and what the goals, targets and deadlines are. The manager must therefore provide transparent information and show clear expectations.

It is important to make clear decisions and to act in a constructive and solution-oriented manner. Through good planning and sensible time management, a manager can competently lead his or her team to achieve the set goals.

3. Act emotionally intelligent

According to a 2007 study, it is increasingly important for employees to see the meaningfulness of their tasks. Therefore, one of the essential soft skills of a competent manager is to convey the meaning and relevance of tasks and goals. The behavior of the manager should therefore be characterized by open communication about decisions and their reasons. Involving employees in decision-making and work processes in a targeted manner generates additional motivation and a sense of responsibility. In addition, goals should always be realistic and, above all, attractive.

4. Create a sense of purpose

According to a 2007 study, it is increasingly important for employees to see the meaningfulness of their tasks. Therefore, one of the essential soft skills of a competent manager is to convey the meaning and relevance of tasks and goals. The behavior of the manager should therefore be characterized by open communication about decisions and their reasons. Involving employees in decision-making and work processes in a targeted manner generates additional motivation and a sense of responsibility. In addition, goals should always be realistic and, above all, attractive.

5. Demonstrating integrity and authenticity

Another very important soft skill of leadership competence is the leader's behavior with integrity and authenticity. Be a role model for your employees by being committed and results-oriented while being aware of your responsibilities! For this soft skill, it is important to be supportive and to generate trust through commitment and flexibility.

A transparent management style means that employees are happy to follow you. However, authenticity is very important here. You should avoid pretending and creating a fake leadership personality. It makes more sense to stand by your own strengths and weaknesses and to promote your very own leadership style.

6. Self-reflection and self-criticism in thinking and acting

For a leader to remain competent, he or she needs the soft skill of self-reflection and self-criticism. To critically question oneself and one's own decisions and also to be criticized is essential. This makes it possible to adapt to new circumstances and always get the best out of a situation.

A change of perspective can help to understand other positions and to see oneself in a new light. In this way, a competent manager teaches his or her employees how to deal with weaknesses in a healthy way and serves as a role model in developing their own strengths.

Geschäftsfrau strahlt souveräne Führungskompetenz aus

How you can train the soft skills of your leadership competence

As it has been shown, leadership skills are very important to keep employees satisfied and motivated. This allows the company to have sustainable success and long-term growth. To achieve this, managers need to train their soft skills in order to competently lead employees under changing circumstances.

With Sparrks' business coaching "Lead confidently and effectively", you can develop your own authentic leadership style, guided by our capable coaches. By learning about your strengths and weaknesses, you will learn to lead effectively and thus motivate your team to new heights as a sovereign leader.

Arrange an info call now or book your first coaching session directly to become the best possible leader for your team and yourself!