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Career Durability: Soft Skills for Leadership

Ena Kožo

Ena Kožo

Human Resources Manager

As a company that evolves together with our employees and their potentials, we decided to take a step further and invest in employees' careers by helping them develop soft skills for leadership.  

Employees are the force that drives business. They are the first contact with the clients, the energy that culture needs to maintain a healthy work environment, and the more they progress with careers and become leaders; the more they become “role models” for the newcomers.  

As a company that evolves together with our employees and their potentials, we decided to take a step further and invest in employees’ careers by helping them develop soft skills for leadership.  

While most HRs hire for people’s technical abilities, soft skills enable “career durability,” says Alexandra Levit, a workforce futurist and author of Humanity Works: Merging Technologies and People for the Workforce of the Future. She defines the term as the ability to acquire the skills, knowledge, and mindset needed to be engaged and productive leader/member of the team.  

Also, the Stanford Research Institute International and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation found that 75% of long-term job success depends upon mastery of soft skills, and only 25% on technical skills. 

What are soft skills and hard skills?

Soft skills refer to a person’s communication and people skills. They help us work well with others but also allow us to demonstrate professionalism and boost our careers. They are intangible and, therefore, difficult to measure. But soft skills are just as necessary in the workplace as hard skills. Examples of soft skills are emotional intelligence, time management, communication, creativity, etc. 

Why are soft skills important?

They help build relationships and solve problems so we can positively contribute to a team or company. These skills are especially important when talking about team leaders since soft skills help them fully utilize their hard skills. Most important, these skills give enormous potential to grow in their role at the company.  

What are the essential soft skills in the workplace? 

Time and energy management 

This skill is important especially when most employees work from home. Good time management skills help plan and manage daily schedules and meet deadlines. Employees who can manage their time are more efficient and productive.  

We at ZIRA have this postulate which says “nulla dies sine linea, “which led us here – we accomplished our company’s vision, and we launched our product to be the best in the market, but we do not focus only on developing employees’ tech skills and competencies; we put focus on developing their soft skills to empower them to manage their own time and energy. 

If they become more mindful of their time and energy needs and manage them well, they will likely be more productive. As a result, they will also become more effective leaders! 

Emotional intelligence 

According to Daniel Goleman, psychologist, and author of the book Emotional Intelligence, it includes the following: 

  • Self-awareness (being in touch with your emotions) 
  • Self-management (managing distressing emotions so they don’t affect your functionality) 
  • Motivation (being able to stay positive in the face of challenges) 
  • Empathy (knowing what others are feeling) 

Leaders with emotional awareness can recognize their feelings and not transfer them to their team members. It is miraculous how we affect others with our emotions and behaviour. A true leader should be able to stay calm and professional despite the “bad day. ” Of course, this doesn’t mean they should hide their feelings, but to be aware if they are projecting them onto others. We can discuss Freuds’ series of articles on Psychoanalysis, but it is not the topic here. 😊 

Building emotional intelligence, which is an effective skill, will lead to higher satisfaction for all team members. 

Communication skills in terms of giving feedback  

Let’s be honest; feedback is a necessary evil. No one likes to hear what they are doing wrong. And feedback isn’t straightforward to give. Our job is to provide effective feedback in the sense of constructive suggestions that engage people and put the spotlight on critical issues. 

Feedback also builds trust and should be a mutually beneficial learning experience that helps us grow if executed well. 

That is why we have emphasized this particular skill through training. According to Gallup, clear communication and meaningful feedback engage people and make them perform better and score higher rates of employee satisfaction. 

Conflict Management 

When approached correctly, conflict can provide healthy learning and growth opportunities. Luckily, we do not witness conflict among our team members, but a regular call with a client could result in a battlefield. Through training, we learn how to approach conflict differently. Do we tense up and get anxious or view it as an opportunity to learn and grow? 


It is an essential skill but the hardest to put into practice. It is imperative to keep tuning into these skills, as refusing to delegate can have negative consequences. It will overload our schedule and prioritize the wrong tasks, and we will miss valuable learning and growth opportunities.  

Also, delegating frees up our time which we can dedicate to more strategic tasks. Since we have more time to spend on other tasks, we can achieve more!  

In conclusion, if it’s done right, employee soft skill build-up can be a huge benefit, especially for satisfaction at work, career boost, and turnover. Even if the employee doesn’t like it at the time since it can be seen as “another learning task for them to do, ” we’re investing in their future in the long term.   

Header photo – Artificial General Intelligence: “When researching AGI, what stuck with me is the idea that it should be able to adapt to an infinite amount of things. It should be able to evolve. With this in mind, I created a ‘centre core’ that represents a newborn AI. The expansion shows its varying specializations as it evolves, growing in many different directions. The glass material was used for its transparent properties. I wanted each sphere to feel like its own organism/collection of knowledge.” Artist: Nidia Dias 

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