Every leader should possess soft skills that define their level of strategic leadership. Strategic leadership refers to a leader’s potential to carry out the strategic vision of the organization, or a part of the organization, and to motivate and persuade others to imbibe that vision.

Strategic leadership is the potential to influence members of an organization so that they can execute positive organizational change. To be successful, leaders must possess the skill to create organizational structure, manage, as well as to allocate resources and define the strategic vision of the organization. Strategic leaders must be open minded when trying to find solutions on complex issues that may be susceptible to internal and external influence, other than their own.

The overall objective of strategic leadership is productivity. Leaders are often challenged to develop an environment in which all stakeholders forecast the organizations needs in the own job context.  Strategic leaders encourage stakeholders to suggest new ideas or innovative ways to improve productivity. As such, leaders formulate ways on how to reward or incentivize individuals or teams who perform better than before.

Strategic leadership skills or commonly known as people or interpersonal skills are key to a leader’s success.

Here are 18 soft skills that every leader should develop for success.

1. Listening 

One of the most important skills that a strategic leader needs to develop is his listening skills. This skill encourages more team participating and motivates each individual to suggest an idea that will create more productivity or improve efficiency. It is important that a leader focuses on the individual who is speaking, taking down notes, be open to opinion, while reserving judgement.

2. Communicating

It is essential for leaders to communicate well to form and maintain relationships with his team or organization.  Always show courtesy, while showing confidence in what you stay while being objective in every discussion.

3. Nonverbal communication

It is said that action speaks louder than words.  True. It is best that you maintain eye contact while speaking to someone to show respect and sincerity. Never fidget and always be consistent with your words and action, less be guilty of miscommunicating your thoughts to the receiver.

4. Be transparent

Bad news is still news. Being transparent is also one of the greatest skills of strategic leadership. Recognize it as part of the job. Employees need to know what is happening so they too can suggest ways on how to solve issues that will affect them and their overall performance.

5. Don’t always be a Yes man

If leaders have to say no to employees and suggestions, the leader should be sensitive enough in reasoning out why he objects to the suggestion or idea. Finding other ways to solve issues or concerns can be of help as well.

6. Negotiation skills

The most successful leaders are great negotiators. They always remain fair and considerate of others, while motivating people to do what you want them to do. Putting yourself in the shoes of your employees, while offering multiple options to solve complex issues, will mean that you are empathic to their current situation. Offering whatever help you can will mean that you are one with the team.

7. Establish connections with the team

Leaders should learn to remember the name of each and every member of the team. Saying their names is like playing music to their souls and a means to establish cordial relationships with employees. Knowing the pain points of each member, and expressing appreciation to their contributions will always mean that you are exerting effort to connect with them.

8. Criticize constructively

Criticizing constructively is essential in maintaining high standards and producing work that excel, if not meet standards. Remember to give criticisms privately. No sugarcoating. Be specific and factual. Make sure that they become part of the solution.

9. Handling difficult employees

No office is an exemption. Every office has a difficult employee once in a while. While behaviors and attitudes can jeopardize workplace harmony, leaders can still deal with difficult people by keeping cool and factual. A leader should be objective and must be able to plan effectively in finding out solutions to problematic situations caused by a difficult people.

10. Maintain professionalism

You have to define the line between friendship and professionalism. Leaders may find it difficult to separate professionalism and friendship with employees. However, strategic leadership skills like professionalism will recognize the defining line between work and personal life. Leaders should clear boundaries if working with friends, must be fair to all subordinates regardless of friendships, and able to avoid any special treatment or favors.

11. Change manager

Strategic leadership requires that leaders become change managers. Subordinates always look up to leaders during times when change is required to reassure, and guide them most importantly in trying times.

12. Manage Resistance

Managing resistance will always entail a lot of effort on the part of the leader. The way leaders handle resistance will always make a lasting impression on themselves. It is best that the leader handle resistance gracefully by focusing on the issue and remaining non-confrontational, taking responsibility if you contributed to an issue, and asking for the resistors’ help in coming to a resolution.

13. Dealing with complaints

There is no organization that handles zero complaints from employees. Leaders must always handle complaints with tact and fairness. As much as possible, leaders should minimize if not eliminate their personal complaints. Encourage complainers to participate in finding solutions to their complaints.

14. Be polite

Be well-behaved in the presence of your people. Good manners help cement positive relationships with employees, they also set an example for the rest of the office to follow. Be respectful of other people’s time and always be early for meetings. Minimize use of speaker phone when you have company. Don’t interrupt. Remember, you have good listening skills. Say please and thank you, whenever needed.

15. Arguing positively

The best leaders are always calm and maintain composure. They are open to other points of view, and are always fair to everyone. Maintain a good tone of voice. Avoid being offending.

16. Delegating

As a leader, you are expected to manage people and their tasks. Delegate whenever necessary. Never be the one to take charge of things that you are not. Allow people to do their job giving them more room for improvement. They will never learn if you don’t trust them. Make clear and specific goals, lay out the plans and discuss obstacles that they could, and might face, and offer available resources.

17. Build morale

Strategic leaders build and maintain morale in the workplace. There will always be a company that is not stress-free. Employees get discouraged and stressed over certain situations. When these stressful situations happen, they will be in need of a strong leader who will prioritize their emotional needs.

18. Recognizing good work

Give generous pats on the back. Recognize people for positive performances. Announce their achievements in group meetings where others can congratulate them.

Need guidance to bring out the best in your company? Contact Benchmark Consulting at info@benchmark-consulting.net.