Soft Skills of a Leader: 3 Effective Soft Skills Required for Today’s Leaders

Since 2020, we have faced one new crisis after another and we have found ourselves in an eternal period of uncertainty. This means leaders need to adapt and adapt quickly. We are all looking to our leaders to help us navigate these difficult times.


What are Leadership Soft Skills?

In addition to the measurable and teachable hard skills a leader has acquired through their studies, additional training and job-related experience, the soft skills of leadership have gained importance.

As the working environment has changed post pandemic, so have the required soft skills for leaders.

Soft Skills of a Leader

The world and the global way of working are undergoing rapid changes. Leaders have to adapt fast. While the hard skills remain largely the same, there are new soft skills necessary to adapt to and handle crisis and change.

Arguably, a mix of leadership soft skills and hard skills, research has identified these skills as the basis for becoming a more effective leader.

Skills Leaders Need Today, for Tomorrow

When leaders respond to the current economic climate with “business as usual” and a distinct lack of adequate soft skills, they miss the chance to create positive, lasting impact for employees, stakeholders and customers alike.

Research shows that purpose and meaning amongst employees create higher innovation and performance results and in turn lead to increased customer share and investor performance. 

Leaders who are able to adapt and add to their soft skills are sensitive to this crucial human need, and they support and guide this meaning-making process.

Leadership Soft Skills for Long-Term Success

Research has shown that soft skills are leadership qualities that are more important and varied than ever before as a result of global changes in a post-pandemic world.

The table below gives an overview of the soft skills identified in the research and in our executive search at Key Search – great leadership talent stands out with a set of soft skills that determine the success of a leader.

3 Effective, New Leadership Soft Skills

To lead an organization successfully in today’s uncertain, challenging and complex reality, three leadership soft skills stand out as especially important for leaders to have in addition to a range of established leadership soft skills that any successful leader must have.

1. Soft Skill of a Leader: Purpose and Meaning

Leaders who give purpose and meaning are effective leaders who engage employees and add meaning to the day-to-day tasks through stories and symbols that embody the company’s values and goals:

  • lead with the purpose of the organization at the core
  • create meaning for themselves and their teams
  • develop key goals and a vision for the future centered on purpose and meaning


2. Soft Skill of a Leader: Hyper-Flexibility

Leaders who can lead with hyper-flexibility embrace change and are equipped to lead their organizations in a rapidly changing environment. Flexibly using other leadership skills in new social and economic situations to lead and manage is at the core, enabling leaders to:

  • flexibly recognize, accept and welcome change and leading by example
  • flexible leadership interaction with global, diverse and interdisciplinary teams require 
  • foster employee flexibility by encouraging and trusting them to be more flexible in their work and problem solving

3. Soft Skill of a Leader: Coaching

Leaders who have good coaching skills bring out the best in their teams. Beyond being capable managers, future-ready leaders have the ability to coach employees to help them, and ultimately the company, reach their goals.

  • care for your employees
  • organize and support them to find their strengths 
  • introduce purpose and meaning and align employees with them
  • challenge employees to help them reach their full potential and their goals

Soft Skills – At the Core of Leadership Recruitment at Key Search

Key Search executive search strives to find the perfect talent for our clients’ leadership roles. Besides hard skills and proven track records, soft skills are a key factor in the recruitment process at Key Search to ensure we help our clients find a leader who is equipped with the soft skills to lead successfully today and in the future.

How can Key Search help you find the leader your organization needs. To get started, let’s have an introductory chat to see how we can support you.

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