8 juli 2022

Soft Skills:
The Hard Skills for Leaders to Learn

8 juli 2022

Soft Skills:
The Hard Skills for Leaders to Learn


In the pursuit of leadership excellence, we often focus on mastering technical skills and knowledge. However, the true mark of an exceptional leader lies in their soft skills, particularly emotional intelligence. These skills are not easy to acquire, as they require a deep exploration of oneself and a willingness to build emotional connections with others. Let’s delve into the transformative power of emotional intelligence and why it is the hard skill every leader should cultivate.

Emotional Intelligence: The Soft Skills that Matter

While technical expertise is essential, emotional intelligence sets exceptional leaders apart. It encompasses the ability to understand and manage our emotions effectively while navigating the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence comprises several key components, including emotional attunement, emotional honesty, emotional transparency, and the capacity to build emotional connections.

Emotional Attunement

To develop emotional intelligence, leaders must start by attuning to their own emotions. This requires self-reflection, self-awareness, and a willingness to explore what resides within. By understanding our emotions, we can gain insight into our strengths, triggers, and areas for growth. Emotional attunement lays the foundation for building emotional intelligence.

Emotional Honesty

Leaders who are emotionally honest with themselves can authentically acknowledge and express their emotions. This level of honesty enables leaders to make informed decisions, handle conflicts effectively, and create a culture of trust. By embracing emotional honesty, leaders foster an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing their own emotions.

Emotional Transparency

Emotional transparency is the act of openly sharing our emotions with others. It involves vulnerability and the willingness to be genuine and authentic. When leaders transparently communicate their emotions, it fosters a sense of psychological safety and encourages open dialogue within the team. Emotional transparency also allows leaders to model healthy emotional expression.

Building Emotional Connections

Exceptional leaders understand the importance of building emotional connections with their team members. They actively listen, empathize, and create an environment that nurtures trust and collaboration. By connecting with others on an emotional level, leaders foster loyalty, engagement, and a sense of belonging. These connections lay the groundwork for building high-performing teams.

Developing Emotional Maturity

To truly embody emotional intelligence, leaders must develop emotional maturity. This requires moving beyond the fear of exploring one’s emotions and embracing the discomfort that comes with self-discovery. Emotional maturity enables leaders to respond rather than react, make empathetic decisions, and handle challenging situations with grace.

Soft skills are often undervalued, yet they are the hard skills that leaders must master. Emotional intelligence, comprising emotional attunement, honesty, transparency, and the ability to build connections, sets exceptional leaders apart. Cultivating emotional intelligence requires self-reflection, emotional maturity, and a willingness to connect with others on a deep level. As leaders embrace the transformative power of these soft skills, they foster an environment of trust, collaboration, and growth. 

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About the Author

Miranda Berkhof is an International Transformation Facilitator & Leadership Coach

At the core of Miranda Berkhof’s work lies leadership transformation. Miranda is deeply committed to guide leaders on their personal and professional journeys.  

With over 15 years of experience in developing leaders and transforming organisations, she understands that business/system transformation requires a personal transformation of leaders. 

In her words: “Life is a transformational journey, and so is leadership. In both, we are invited to learn, to add new discoveries through experience and to gain deeper insights about ourselves, and about how we relate to others and the world at large. Often, the best we can do is get out of our own way and allow ourselves to embark on the journey.”

May you live your best life and discover the new leader within,



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