Soft leadership is definitely not submissive. It's human, courageous, assertive and kind. Remarkable leaders see curve balls coming, anticipate the needs of their team, make them feel safe and inspire them to do great work.
DETACHED AND COLD
In all the years of working (especially for others), I couldn't understand the cold, detached and not so human way of relating to each other. Our home life was separate to our working life and we all accepted it. I remember in my youth and ignorance, being judgemental about a colleague who had nodded off during a meeting. She was exhausted from being up all night with her new baby. Instead of offering to cover for her while she grabbed some shuteye, we scorned the idea of her returning back to work. We all acknowledged our personal and professional worlds to be separate and refused to see the benefit of life experience applied to the job. Thankfully that's all changing (in most places).
Having since had children of my own, I can now see how my personal experiences have added greatly to my professional toolkit in terms of emotional intelligence. When you've gone to battle with a toddler or a teenager, dealt with a serious illness, or buried a loved one, you are more inclined to see the bigger picture, see the person, reach out and help out.
KINDNESS IS A WIN/WIN
Tough life experiences humble us, make us softer, kinder and more understanding to one another. When we show kindness to someone, especially unexpected kindness, both parties win. Soft leaders create an authentic culture of trust, compassion and kindness and are rewarded with loyal relationships, elevated morale and productivity.
Mindfulness practices can be used to develop emotional intelligence by increasing awareness of self and others. It trains us to pause, listen and see a situation more calmly and clearly, in order to respond appropriately.
What practices do you use to develop your soft skills and emotional intelligence? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below.
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