Can soft skills development really produce hard results? A DDI meta-analysis on leadership development reported an average return on investment (ROI) of $4,000 for every $1,100 spent on soft skills training for leaders, suggesting that interpersonal connections are still a vital part of effective leadership. However, soft skills training is often overlooked and under-supported. In their article for Chief Learning Officer Magazine, Evan Sinar and Richard S. Wellins highlight four major leadership development needs related to soft skills that they noticed in DDI studies conducted from 2014 to 2016:
#1: Leaders need to focus on conversations.
Our reliance on technology has significantly reduced our face-to-face interactions. However, these conversation are vital to people feeling connected to one another, even in the workplace.
#2: Leaders need soft skills training.
The DDI study “High Resolution Leadership” found that only about half of the front-line leader participants were able to consistently display effective interaction skills such as empathy.
#3: Empathy is the linchpin soft skill.
Empathy is considered by many professions to be the most vital and influential soft skill to build relationships and influence people.
#4: Closing the soft skills gap.
Soft skills can be taught, but they require practice!