Leaders: “Now is the Time for the Soft Stuff.”

Jann FreedLeading Leave a Comment

This post is written for anyone who wants to be more effective in influencing others–regardless of position, company, or industry.

I have blogged about what it means to be a good neighbor and how leaders need to build community (Leaders Build Community Training.) Now is the time to do both and to remember we are all connected.  It is also the time to be “soft.”  We are living and working in these unprecedented and challenges times of the coronavirus. The future is uncertain.  Plans and policies seem to be changing on a daily basis. I am reminded of the importance of “soft skills” in getting things done, communicating a clear message, inspiring others, and offering hope.

In writing Leading with Wisdom:  Sage Advice from 100 Expertsone of the main themes that emerged was “leaders connect with empathy and compassion.”  One of the sages said it this way:  “The soft stuff is the hard stuff.”  According to another sage, “The fluff is the stuff.”

We often refer to personal and interpersonal skills as “soft skills.”  Whereas, quantitative skills such as math, accounting, and finance are referred to as “hard skills.”  My finance colleague and I would constantly debate which set of skills were more important.  Of course, I always said the “soft stuff” and always believed I was correct.

But as I watch and listen to what is being done in various countries, different organizations both profit and not-for-profit and what is being said and how it is communicated, I hear what is needed:  compassion, empathy, trust, hope, and healing.  I hear this from the governor, mayor, and numerous other organizational leaders sharing words of comfort and care.  In unique situations such as what we are all now facing, it is the heart that takes over to make things better.  People helping people.  As I said in a recent post, this is the time to be good neighbors.

To be an effective servant leader, the soft stuff is the stuff … compassion, empathy, and trust in hopes of healing the pain of grief and loss that accompanies horrific natural disasters.   Or helps heal the pain that exists in life and in workplaces today.

How willing are you to put others ahead of self?

What is the reading on your compassion and empathy “scale?”

How are you being a good neighbor?

How are you building community within your organization?