One of the biggest overlooked areas within the entrepreneurial community is soft skills. Most people in this industry are looking for those hard skills like sales, marketing, or the tech behind building a funnel. Yes, those skills are needed too, but without soft skills, I guarantee your business will fail. I’m listing out important soft skills conscious entrepreneurs need today.
So what are soft skills and why are they important?
Soft skills are the how behind the work. As opposed to the hard skills that can be measured and even taught in the classroom such as technical knowledge. Interacting with people and character traits make up the soft skills. These skills are important because they enable you to work well with people. And as entrepreneurs, people are the lifeblood of our businesses. You’ve heard the saying about know, like, and trust when it comes to selling our products and services.
5 Soft Skills Conscious Entrepreneurs Need
1) Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the number one soft skill conscious entrepreneurs need. Why? Well, according to Psychology Today, “emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions as well as the emotions of others.” There are five pieces that make up emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills (source: pyschcentral.com). I’m not new to EQ. This is something we discussed quite a bit in my higher education days. EQ was a hot topic because of the importance placed on developing this skill within our college students. Not only is this soft skill important because of our social natures as humans, but research shows higher EQ levels and happiness have a correlation.
Empathy is a component of EQ, but this skill is so powerful that it deserves additional attention. In a recent Forbes article, Empathy Is The Most Important Leadership Skill According to Research, Tracy Brower writes: “Empathy has always been a critical skill for leaders, but it is taking on a new level of meaning and priority. Far from a soft approach it can drive significant business results.” Some of these results that Brower covers include retention, innovation, and work-life balance. Can you imagine how this soft skill ends up impacting the bottom line? Less spending (dollars and time) on hiring, more money from streamlining processes or creating new products, and happier team members.
Mindset is a soft skill that so many people don’t utilize. Including myself, until recently. I literally told someone yesterday that I previously thought mindset was about confidence. Which meant that I didn’t need to work on it because I had confidence to take action. Yall, I was dead wrong. Mindset is about your mental attitude. You can have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. Team members with a growth mindset will achieve more than their counterparts with a fixed mindset according to Harvard Business Review. Why? Because they put more effort into learning, growing, and developing.
Communication is another important one on the list of soft skills conscious entrepreneurs need to develop. And I’m not talking just about written communication. Communication also includes active listening, conflict management, feedback, body language, and verbal communication. What you say and how you say it can mean the difference between losing a long-time client and gaining a new client for a lifetime. If you’re an introvert, I encourage you to speak up more often. If you’re an extrovert, I encourage you to sit through awkward silences and listen without thinking about your response.
Collaboration between team members or managers and direct reports can foster the development of the previous four soft skills. Hell, even if you are a solopreneur without a team, collaboration is an important soft skill because you can develop relationships with other business owners. One such way to do this is through Coffee Chats. No one likes going to work in an environment where they are considered an outsider or don’t feel like they are part of the team. Collaboration encourages individuals to come together, improving team dynamics and performance.
Soft skills are vital to success as an entrepreneur
Whether you’re in the coaching industry, leading an agency, or are a service provider, soft skills are critical. These top five soft skills conscious entrepreneurs need can vastly improve your business. Understanding people, who they are and how they operate, is something you CAN develop.
While soft skills aren’t quantifiable, they can be built overtime–just like a bicep muscle can be built in the gym. One such way to grow your soft skills muscle is through working with a conscious leadership coach like myself. You can find more about how I use the Enneagram in my work with clients here.
What soft skills do you believe conscious entrepreneurs should have?