Leadership starts with us, individually. When we work to develop, improve, and master ourselves, we can then extend leadership outwards to those we interact with. Leadership comprises technical knowledge and expertise and human skills. How we relate to others, how we connect with others, and how we foster personal development – can arguably be more important than technical knowledge and expertise. Without the balance of human skills to technical knowledge and expertise, we do a disservice to ourselves, others, and organizations by not allowing for full potential growth, we lose the opportunity to increase profitability, and we run the risk of not attracting or retaining qualified talent.
Here are 5 human skills to develop, improve, and master in 2022:
Having the ability to understand and share feelings starts with understanding and being compassionate with ourselves first. Can we be open with ourselves and release judgement? Do we let go of the need for perfectionism? Do we allow ourselves to make mistakes and not hold ourselves to an unattainable standard? Can we then extend that grace, compassion, and awareness to others we interact with? Developing empathy and fostering compassion allows us to hold ourselves and others accountable, set clear boundaries, and understand diverse perspectives.
Leadership isn’t defined by a title. A leader is a beacon, a role model that holds a vision and is connected to all the parts. When leaders are connected to their environment and people, that sense of connectedness allows for big visions, buy-in, efficiency, profitability, improved overall health, and a sense of cohesion. Without connectedness, individuals feel unmotivated, unsupported, and unengaged. Having connection lowers the risk of despair, anxiety, and depression and increases self-esteem, empowers individuals to have empathy, and improves mental health.
Communication is key in everyday conversation as well as problem solving and managing conflict. How we navigate communication and express ourselves can mean the difference between being understood and misunderstood. Good communication involves asking questions to ensure the message is delivered as intended. It involves listening, being aware of our nonverbal cues, and truthfulness. We use these skills to help us navigate conflict and in situations that require understanding, empathy, and connectedness. The end result of good communication is being understood quickly and accurately and it creates a safe space for all to engage.
Strong listening skills is a practice and a key component of good communication. Actively listening requires hearing the message fully, interpreting and asking questions, and providing productive feedback. Mirroring back to another what has been stated is empowering, motivating, and allows the other to feel heard. Listening requires being present. This means shutting out all the noise including interruptions and distractions. In this fast paced world, listening is increasingly difficult, but when we honor each other by listening, we foster empathy, connectedness, and trust.
Support is the cornerstone for increased motivation, engagement, and empowerment. When we take the time to encourage the direct result is fostering competence, growth, learning, the generation of ideas, and increased input. Providing support results in feeling valued, being seen and heard, and elevates us to show up as our best selves. This support is crucial to the viability of an organization. Without support, there can be no sense of obligation or drive to grow, excel, improve, or even stay with an organization.
These 5 human skills ultimately build trust. Building trust fosters improvement and excellence. Improvement and excellence contributes to efficiency, productivity, safety, quality, service, mental health, and profitability.
Happy New Year 2022! Let this be the year we improve, develop, and master the human side of ourselves, others, and organizations. Cheers!
About the Author:
Michelle Lemoi is a strategic catalyst with Clifton Strengths of Learner, Individualization, Intellection, Connectedness, and Futuristic. Michelle has over 25 years experience in the construction industry. She was President of Lemoi Erectors, Inc from 2009-2016. She is CEO & Founder of Elevate – Women In Construction, a community for women in the industry that provides networking and resources for personal and professional development to support these women in being the best version of themselves and move from surviving to thriving in their environments.