Many of us remember the “Miracle on the Hudson,” when U.S. Airways Captain Chesley “Sulley” Sullenberger III safely landed a commercial airliner on the Hudson River. In his recent Forbes article http://onforb.es/1SlzcrJ Sulley shares his belief that it takes more then technical skills and abilities to be a successful leader. He states that “you also have to have great human skills,” which holds true regardless of what line of work you are in.
In the Leadership and Talent Development circles human skills are commonly referred to as “soft skills”. A simple way to describe soft skills is the personal behaviors that help an individual work and socialize well with others. These behaviors can be grouped into three major clusters:
- ● Personal competencies – the core that drives an individual’s overall perception and behavior. This includes attributes such as development mindset, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, curiosity and self-confidence.
- ● Social competencies – the face shown to others that drives trust and confidence. This includes qualities such as openness, collaboration, building trust, courage and leveraging social capital.
- ● Cultural competencies – the active behaviors that are emulated by others, which include creativity & innovation, accountability, versatility, conflict resolution, and engagement.
At StangerCarlson, we too believe soft skills are as critical to being an effective leader as hard skills (technical skills). All humans possess both soft skills and hard skills, and many great leaders exemplify strength in both areas. As Sully suggests, perhaps it’s time to change the terms we use to “human skills” and “technical skills”, asking us to reimagine exactly which skills make leaders truly great.