How good are your human skills at work?

Updated: Feb 1

In today’s fast-evolving hybrid working world, we need to strengthen our leadership teams to ensure they have the right skills and tools to lead and positively impact the business effectively.


What makes a great leader?


I often get asked what the ideal personality style for a strong leader is, and the answer is that great leaders come with many different strengths and personality types.


Traits such as strong self-awareness, being adaptable, showing humility in the workplace, displaying resilience in tough times and having empathy with your teams are a great start.



Since the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders need to reinvent themselves and show up to work to support the team in different ways. From here, leadership development can amplify these qualities further, introduce new techniques to you and elevate your business.


It is prevalent for team members who have strong technical or functional skills and expertise to be moved into leadership roles but not given any training on being a leader. They may struggle to inspire, coach and build commitment, accountability and a shared vision with their team.

We need to embed leadership skills to reduce turnover and ensure our people are engaged and productive.


How do Australians feel about their workplace leaders?


A recent study by YouGov on behalf of the Australian College of Applied Professions (ACAP) found that the equivalent of 3.4 million employees dislike their manager. 53% of the 3.4million employees are also concerned about interacting with their boss again once they return to the workplace.



The stats don’t lie:

· Nearly 40% felt their boss lacked emotional intelligence,

· 34% said their boss was an ineffective communicator,

· 31% said their boss wasn’t empathetic to their life outside of work,

· 32% felt micromanaged

· 32% reported a lack of flexibility or adaptability to change from their manager.


When asked about their dream manager, the skills identified were:

· 56% respect

· 53% effective listening skills

· 53% empathy

· 52% flexibility

· 52% teamwork


These are fundamental leadership capabilities; however, more than 6 in 10 respondents said their current manager struggled with these core capabilities.


How can businesses ensure that their leaders are adequately equipped with the skills to be effective, as employee retention is set to be a challenge in 2022?

Coming from a corporate background with many professional development opportunities, I was surprised to learn how few small to medium-sized businesses invest in professional development—often opting for technical development over softer, transferrable skills.

Leadership development is often swept to the side.

Leaders can often spread themselves thin across multiple departments either due to being under-resourced with employees and time or lacking in trust to hand over the reins to their team to manage. Likewise, the expectations of a leader can sometimes feel like you need to be a magical unicorn, all things to all people, the strategist and the executor, the innovator and tech-savvy to the people person.


This is where understanding your strengths and the strengths of your team and leveraging is important. I often hear that “I don’t have time to develop my leadership skills.”

I understand that managers at all levels have significant daily responsibilities, and the immediate focus is that workload.



Time is precious, and often there is limited capacity to take on extra tasks. But what if this ‘extra’ task of committing your team to leadership development dramatically impacted your business performance, operations, productivity, and professional relationships between employees?


By improving the productivity and performance of your leaders, you will get this time back in other ways, when your leaders operate more efficiently and empower their teams to grow and take on more challenges.


Leaders tend to focus on productivity gains through new tools and processes; however, much waste in organisations is due to poor leadership conversations that were never had or poorly handled.


The investment in your leaders will lead to a more productive organisation, more engaged employees and a more profitable business.


Please get in touch if you would like to learn how to develop your leadership capability for your team.



Written by Claire Gray



Claire Gray Consultant, Coach & Facilitator at Thriving Culture Claire is passionate about building high-performing teams and people so that they can thrive. She is an accomplished HR Consultant, Coach & Facilitator and has over 15 years of experience in Human Resources, Leadership & Organisational Development, and Change Management. Claire works with businesses on their People Strategy to develop their leadership capability, embed a purpose led-culture, and build a high-performing team. She holds a Masters of Business (Human Resource Management), a Bachelor of Behavioural Science, and is a certified Facet5 (personality assessment) practitioner. With over 600 coaching hours and accreditation with the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership, Claire works with clients as an Executive/ Leadership coach, career and small business coach.

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