There are many different kinds of professional skills. Some are easy to measure. Candidates either have a technical qualification, or they don’t. Other skills are harder to quantify. These are known as soft skills. Soft skills are, in many ways, the underpinnings of successful behavior. They can transfer easily from one industry to another. Leadership positions often require extensive soft skills. Because these are hard to measure, it’s important to think of what makes up a soft skill, and how it’s used.

Soft skills include evaluating talent. Hiring is one of the most important functions for any company. Without good people, even a good concept can be difficult to execute. Intelligence, teamwork and motivation can be hard to identify. People who can find good hires quickly are very valuable to an organization, and make great leadership material.

Communication is a key soft skill. Someone who can toggle between dealing with C-level executives and the general public is a great person to have around. Being able to speak and listen to people from all walks of life is important for leaders. Often, vision is seen as the most important trait in a leader. But having a vision without being able to communicate it to others is actually a very lonely place. It’s the opposite of leadership.

A part of communication is being able to say no. A related skill is delegation. Being good at things is key if a worker is going to rise to the top. However, being able to hand off work is very important. A leader can’t get bogged down in administrative business. Those responsibilities should be handed off to other competent workers.

Networking is an incredibly important soft skill, too. Networking often sounds somewhat mercenary when it’s described. In reality, networking just means making connections. It’s closely related to communication. Networking means getting out there and exchanging ideas with people. Building relationships can also be a great aid to recruitment and other tasks.

Soft skills transfer to any field. Traditionally, they’re associated with fields like HR and C-suites. These days, it’s becoming apparent that soft skills are important in every area of a business. Looking for employees with great soft skills in fields like IT can help a business chart a new course. Bringing soft skills to IT can help businesses reach new heights.

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