The short shelf life of skills and a tightening labor market are giving rise to a multitude of skill gaps. Businesses are fighting to stay ahead of the curve, trying to hold onto their best talent and struggling to fill key positions. Individuals are conscious of staying relevant in the age of automation; this is according to a Linkedin 2018 Workplace Learning Report. Talent developers, executives, and people managers agree that training for soft skills is the top priority for talent development teams.
Whether you are building the next big thing or you are the brightest intellectual in the room; you need to develop interpersonal skills to propel you to the next level. These are called soft skills. Soft skills are personal attributes and intrinsic social cues need for success in any kind of craft. They define how a person interrelates with his or her associates.
In the current tech-driven and digital ecosphere where relationships are shrouded behind screens, there is need to develop an authentic personal relationship beyond the digital avatars.
When building a company it is not enough to just have an idea, you will need specific skills as you relate to your investors, team, and customers. Unlike hard skills which are taught in a traditional classroom, soft skills are not only learned but also acquired through repetitive practice.
You cannot build a successful company without having a hearty personal rapport with your stakeholders.
Here are the soft skills every entrepreneur needs to master:
Establishing excellent communication skills is the bare minimum number one soft skill every entrepreneur needs to master. When communicating, something can always go amiss and the other party can get something else, and misunderstandings, frustration, and conflicts supervene. This can have perilous ramifications within your team or between your team and customers.
As you communicate with your team, customers and investors, there needs to be consistency on two levels; your non-verbal and verbal cues have to go hand in hand; written and spoken. Another major aspect of communication is listening; listening allows you to process the kind of response that will be informed and effective. Take time as an entrepreneur to develop your communication skills as it will go a long way
Negotiation is a process of forging a mutually acceptable agreement between two parties. And because it involves some give and take, it is a daily process in the life of an entrepreneur that takes place between them and customers, investors and even team members. In every negotiation, there is always an element of compromise and it’s not everything will go your way. Developing this skill is essential when building up your business because, before the signing of that contract with a client or investor, this skill will have to come into place.
This is simply using the available time in a productive way. Managing your time well will allow you to be more efficient, effective and productive. Effective time management will also lead to a strong relationship with your associates because they will know you value them. Time management is not optional for any entrepreneur who wants to be successful; schedule your calendar by defining the essentials and non-essentials and stay disciplined. Mastering this simple skill will save you a lot of money in the long-term.
When building relationships, you are susceptible to conflicts. Most conflicts come as a result of poor communication skills. Conflicts are healthy in any business relationship it strengthens the associations. But if not managed, conflicts can grow into something else causing pain and weaken productivity. Strong conflict management skills are a required skill set for every entrepreneur. Conflicts arise between customers and your team or between the team members within a company – they can be managed by the parties or intervention the supervisor.
A leader is someone who inspires a team towards a common goal. Any position of leadership calls for high levels of skills to effectively deliver their subjects to the common destination. You can be a manager but not a leader; you can also be a boss but not a leader. In addition to the above softs skills, a leader has to be a role model to the team members – meaning that they have to walk the talk and lead by example. Learning effective leadership skills requires continuous practice and getting a mentor who guides you.