WITH SPRING just around the corner and the first quarter of 2017 almost complete, now is a perfect time for business leaders to start their ‘spring clean’ – examine their routines, make improvements and reflect on the state of their business.
This is especially timely given the fast pace of change in today’s working environment, with the very notion of what defines good business practice and effective leadership constantly changing.
In his new book, Jan Mühlfeit, former Chairman of Microsoft Europe, explains that professional leaders today would be wise to jump on the ‘soft skills’ bandwagon – something that cannot be replicated by machines and yet can make all the difference between failure and success.
Hard skills are important, but soft skills, such as work ethic, attitude, communication skills and emotional intelligence can set an individual or team apart and help them excel.
This is increasingly recognised by organisations worldwide. Two-thirds of the respondents to a 2012 Harvard Business Review global survey of managers and leaders at large corporations agreed that their organisations needed to work on developing mindset, self-awareness and leadership.
The challenge faced in today’s business world is that the importance of these soft skills is still often undervalued and there is far less training provided for them than hard skills.
In attempting to discover why certain business leaders succeed, another study by consultancy firm Green Peak Partners and Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labour Relations, discovered that a ’high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success’.
Through self-awareness leaders can discover and reveal their true authenticity, and this is the secret ingredient that will gain the trust and respect of others. Tapping into self-awareness means being able to lead both yourself and your team to their potential, explains Mühlfeit.
By knowing who you are and understanding the impact you have on others, you’ll naturally become more open, empathetic and influential, and you can skilfully interact with your colleagues without compromising your core principles or character.