7 Soft Skills CEOs Need to Master in 2019

Friday, September 13, 2019

It’s a known fact that running a business can be a complex and often taxing challenge. Chief Executive Officers must not only ensure that all operations run smoothly but also take responsibility for the company’s future prospects. If a business wants to be successful, they need to ensure their CEO can handle a plethora of situations using a rational mind and dynamic skillset.

Article 4 Minutes
7 Soft Skills CEOs Need to Master in 2019

Soft skills are half the battle and can be a gateway to achieving company-wide respect and creating an environment where stakeholders can continue to learn and grow.

Here are 7 soft skills CEOs need to master in 2019.

1. Personal development

To be successful in the business world means being consistently open to learning and developing your knowledge. Reflective thinking can help CEOs look at how they handle issues and pinpoint their own weaknesses to ensure the best judgements are made – thus reaching the most desirable outcome. The most effective leaders will also consider the larger context at hand and predict the implications of an experience or decision on the company.

Engaging in vocational qualifications and training either individually or alongside employees will also ensure adaptation to changing technology and update crucial skills. One of the best ways to develop your skills is to take accredited courses and development programs. Some great programs include:

2. Conflict management

Conflict management is one of the most vital skills a CEO can master because it defines how well an organization operates in difficult times. When disputes occur, it’s common for employees and lower-level management to turn to their CEO for advice and support.

An effective CEO will act as a mediator and resolve all conflicts to yield a positive result. The ultimate aim is to ensure that the end outcome respects all stakeholders’ wants and needs. If a conflict remains unresolved, it can cause low morale among staff members and affect the company’s operations.

3. Delegation 

If you find it difficult transferring tasks to other members of your team, you may want to brush up on your delegation skills. Delegation is a competency that will work in your favor when implemented successfully and works to ensure that team members feel valued and look forward to taking on responsibility.

Delegation isn’t just about sharing tasks with your team, it’s about finding the right employee for each task. Perhaps an employee has a unique set of talents synonymous with the task at hand. A good CEO knows how to find talent, distribute tasks to peers and encourage progress through constructive feedback and praise.

4. Communication and listening

Let’s not forget that communication skills aren’t all about how you put your opinion forward, they’re also about how well you listen to others. As a CEO you should check in with your team regularly and listen to any concerns they might have. Without communication skills, a CEO cannot connect with their team, so it’s important to develop your skills and practice active listening.

5. Developing others 

A study on the effect of career development on employee retention has suggested that training programs are intrinsically linked to higher levels of employee satisfaction. People want to progress within their career and if they feel there aren’t many opportunities they could likely leave the company. Think about how your career developed and the opportunities you took advantage of. Your team expects to be rewarded for their work, so don’t underestimate the importance of training and development.

Speak to your team regularly and arrange meetings where you can to reflect on which members have management potential. You can work with your HR team and current managers to ensure regular training is offered.

6. Planning skills

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) lists priority planning as one of the top skills employers look for. Planning is vital for recruiting new team members, implementing training programs and navigating your team through important corporate transitions.

Setting goals and objectives is essential for planning and helping your team meet their KPI’s. Planning can also help you evaluate where the weaknesses in your company are and aid you in resolving any issues.

7. Team building

Team building for effective teamwork is a discipline that can bring you long lasting trust and confidence in your peers. Working in collaboration, sharing ideas and workloads are all part of great team building practices. The most effective team builders will look at which skills they require and choose individuals who can offer their own strengths to create a strong panel of co-workers.

Another key aspect of team building is to delegate responsibility and set objectives for the both the team and individual members. If you’re an experienced CEO, then you’ve probably put a lot of teams together, but there’s always room for improvement!

Making the right decisions

You listen to other people's opinions and seek advice but as a CEO the final decision is in your hands. For some CEOs this can be a terrifying prospect, but confidence is key with decision making. Nobody gets everything right, but you need to be able to justify your decisions and reflect on the choices you make. Use your team to gain perspective, but don’t let them sway you into a decision that might have negative consequences.

Sarah Anderson

Sarah left her career as a strategic consultant at one of Bristol's top freight companies to pursue her calling as a writer. She informs on all things start-up and what it takes to be a skilled business leader, specializing in disruptive innovation practices in particular. When she isn't researching or writing, she can usually be found in a vintage shop or dipping into a local museum or art gallery. 


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