5 Soft Skills You Need to Master to Stand Out as a Leader
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

While the importance of learning hard skills such as math, web design, writing, and computer programming is often emphasized as a requirement for success, don’t underestimate the importance of mastering soft skills—especially if you want to stand out as a leader in your career.

Just think, some of the world’s greatest leaders such as former president Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Ursula Burns, Ken Chenault, and Bozoma Saint John are known for their abilities to motivate and empower people to act (public speaking), manage difficult conversations (conflict resolution), take responsibility for their actions and recognize the feelings of others (emotional intelligence).

So if you’re ready to increase your visibility as a leader in your career, here are a few soft skills you should master:

  • Public speaking – Whether you’re looking to become a manager or owner of a company, your success will be measured by your ability to move people to action with your words.
  • Negotiation – From negotiating your salary or business deal to articulating your value for a job promotion, win-win tactics such as establishing a trusting foundation, brainstorming and offering contingency agreements, and focusing on interest and not positions will be critical to your success.
  • Conflict resolution – Regardless of your industry or position within a company, conflict is inevitable so listening; respecting differences and facilitating solutions become critical to managing difficult conversations, people, and office politics. Remember, part of a leader’s job is to get the work done through diverse groups of people.
  • Emotional intelligence – As you climb the ladder of success your ability to be aware of, control, and express your emotions, and to deal with the relationships empathetically will be valued as a key indicator in assessing your leadership capabilities.
  • Executive presence –  Nowadays, regardless if you’re an employee or entrepreneur, people buy into people. So being able to speak with confidence, demonstrate charismatic leadership, and be aware of your body language and clearly communicate a vision and direction so that people pay attention—are must-haves for stand out leaders.

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