Author Archives: Paul LaRue
Hard skills that leaders possess can be generally clustered into the following areas:
- Technical skills
- Analytical skills
- Marketing skills
- Presentation skills
- Management skills
- Project management skills
These are skills that show up on a resume/CV and are typically quantified by shareholder reports, profit-and-loss statements and other reporting and/or certification methods.
It’s usually the hard skills that companies recruit for and seek out
Soft skills, the ones that default to the “nice to have” category, are usually categorized into the following:
- Emotional Intelligence
- Service Mindedness
These are the ones that employees seek from their leaders. They typically don’t end up in resume searches, portfolios or promoted by recruiters.
Yet these are the ones that companies like The Gallup Organization, Entrepreneur, and renowned leadership consultants like Lolly Daskal identify are needed from leaders in the workplace.
In looking at the juxtaposition of the names of soft skills and hard skills, one should wonder – why are “soft skills” so hard to come by?
Probably because they require authenticity, integrity, character and accountability.
It’s easier to acquire hard skills. The soft skills result in you serving others. While every leader can serve others, very few choose to do so.
Soft skills are hard. But so worth the investment for the long game.
The Oxford dictionary definition of “competent” is “having the necessary ability, knowledge, or skill to do something successfully”.
When you think of someone being a competent leader, what images or descriptions come to mind?
Most likely the easiest definitions that come to mind are the following:
- Technical knowledge
- Industry experience
- Proven to achieve results, numbers, sales, metrics
- Ability to overcome obstacles
These criteria, while good, don’t portray the whole of what competent leadership is and should be. In fact, it only paints a partial picture – cold and technical, devoid of what matters to employees.
An article from Indeed from September 2020 posed a series of key competencies that every leaders should possess.
In these eight competency traits, none of them had anything to do with numbers, shares, or technical ability. They all dealt with interpersonal skills and being others-focused on the people that make up the organization.
We can understand that leadership needs to create results, but we often forget how to create those results because we’re so focused on the competencies that “matter” versus the “soft competencies” that inspire, develop and sustain those results over time.
A competent leader doesn’t just look at the end of period results and justify their efforts. They also look at the culture and temperature of the workplace and understand their people need to feel connected through trust, integrity, communication, self-discipline of their leaders and engaged teamwork in order to build and continue any degree of success.
In order to consider oneself a competent leader, one needs to make sure their employees endorse their “having the necessary ability, knowledge, or skill to do <this> successfully”.
The most competent leaders know this.
The value of a leader is not determined by their own success but by the success of their entire team.
What steps are you taking to ensure you prove to your people that you are competent? Write them down and make a commitment to work on those competencies this week.
How do you climb a tall ladder?
One rung at a time.
And yet we forget to apply that principle to the bigger and more challenging – dare we say “daunting”? – tasks and goals.
Changing culture, implementing a new process or system, and pivoting to a new business model all seem monumental. But they get completed in small steps over time that build to the bigger accomplishment once all the groundwork has been laid.
Taking the time to improve through self-development, learning a new skill, or creating habits beneficial to yourself and others all are the result of consistent incremental efforts, occurring over time.
When you feel the urge to say “I don’t have time,” consider what 2 extra minutes of focused incremental efforts might create.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.