The right social skills set great leaders apart from the pack. That’s especially true now that the entire world is going through one of the biggest health crises. If you want to become a better leader and keep your business thriving—no matter what life throws at you—, focus on honing the following social traits.
Gratitude is one of the simplest of all social manners but is often forgotten. Even if you’re at the highest position in the organization, learn the simple power of saying, “thank you.” It is an effortless way to make your team feel appreciated, especially if they’ve been working hard to keep the company stays afloat.
At this point, you outrank many people, but keep in mind that you were a rank-and-file employee once and needed leaders to grow and move up your career. Don’t forget to give back. Share what you’ve learned to younger managers or rising stars of your organization. That’s a more productive way than holding your rank and experience over everyone’s head. After all, even if you’re at the top, you’re still part of a team.
Employees won’t fear or even hesitate to approach empathetic leaders because they listen deeply and can easily identify emotions beneath words. They make others feel understood and appreciated. Improve your empathy by being mindful of others—including their stories, experiences, and everyday struggles. Over time, you will be better at easing fears, motivating, and rallying a team to reach a common goal.
Ability to choose words carefully
Whether you’re the regional head of a multinational company or an owner of a local commercial cleaning franchise, learn to choose your words carefully. Always initiate constructive conversations; any criticism should leave a positive emotion and lead to a specific action or improvement. Even when posting on social media or interacting with customers online, careless words can easily hurt brand relationships.
Ability to read the room
Great leaders can walk into the room (or a Zoom call) and get an immediate sense of what’s going on. They can tune in to the mood, pick up on power plays, and innately know who they should focus on to get their message across and eventually reach their goals. Add this skill to your empathy and ability to choose words carefully, and you can position your points for maximum impact without alienating anyone.
Three key components of effective social skills are facial expressions, body language, and vocal signals. After all, much of communication is not what it’s said but how it’s communicated. In addition to being mindful of your words and others, focus on honing your non-verbal communication skills. Connect to people by mirroring body language, maintaining eye contact, and speaking with a warm tone. Even if you can only communicate with your team through Zoom these days, be mindful of your body language.
Once you master these social skills, it will be more comfortable and more natural for you to lead and inspire other people. You can keep your team highly motivated and engaged in working towards a greater cause.