Soft Skills are the Next Big Thing

In today’s rapidly evolving workplace landscape, soft skills have become the next ‘big thing’ as organisations strive to adapt to the needs of team members and leaders. Soft skills include a wide range of interpersonal abilities such as communication, empathy, understanding, and mentoring skills. These are all essential for fostering effective leadership and building a positive organisational culture.

Why Soft Skills Matter

According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2019 report, 92% of talent professionals believe that soft skills are equally or more important than hard skills1. In 2023, LinkedIn analysed the job postings on their platform and found that 40% of the top ten skills companies needed most were soft skills2. The benefits to engagement, productivity and overall organisational performance alone are strong reasons to support soft skills development in your team members.


Key Soft Skills for Next-Gen Leadership

1. Highly transferrable communication skills

Effective communication lies at the heart of effective leadership. Leaders who excel in communication can articulate their ideas clearly, listen actively to others, and convey complex information in a simple and understandable manner. By fostering open and transparent communication within their teams, leaders can build trust, enhance collaboration, and drive positive outcomes.

2. Being empathetic and understanding of others

Empathy is another essential soft skill for leaders. By understanding and empathising with the perspectives and experiences of team members, leaders can build deeper connections and foster a culture of inclusivity and support. Empathetic leaders are better equipped to address the needs and concerns of their team members, leading to higher morale, satisfaction, and retention rates. In 2021, Catalyst found that 76% of people with highly empathic senior leaders report often or always being engaged, compared to only 32% of people with less empathic senior leaders3.

3. Diverse understanding and ability to quickly adapt

In today’s fast-paced and evolving workplace landscape, understanding and adaptability are critical soft skills for leadership success. Leaders who show an understanding of diverse perspectives and an openness to new ideas are better positioned to navigate change and uncertainty. By embracing adaptability, leaders can inspire resilience and innovation within their teams, driving sustainable growth and success.

4. Being the mentor

Mentorship plays a vital role in developing leaders. Effective mentorship programs involve knowledge transfer, skill-building, and succession planning within organisations. If possible, they should also be cross-generational, enabling individuals to learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives (hint: mentoring is a two-way relationship). By investing time and resources into mentoring initiatives, leaders can empower their team members to reach their full potential, driving long-term organisational success. Read our thought piece to learn how different generations can effectively work together in the workplace.

Cultivating soft skills is essential for shaping successful leadership for generations currently in and entering the workforce. By prioritising the development of communication, empathy, understanding and adaptability, and mentoring skills, organisations can create a culture that fosters collaboration, innovation, and growth. As leaders embrace the challenges and opportunities of the future, focus on investing in the soft skills that will empower leaders to lead with purpose, resilience, and empathy.

Share your thoughts and experiences with your own soft skill development in the workplace. How have soft skills impacted your leadership journey, and what strategies have you found effective in cultivating these essential abilities?

For even more insights on enhancing your leadership with soft skills, take a look at the resources and articles available on our website. Together, let us champion the transformative power of soft skills and create a future where every leader can thrive.


  1. Lobosco, M, 2019, ‘LinkedIn Report: These 4 Ideas Are Shaping the Future of HR and Hiring’, LinkedIn Talent Blog,, 22/4/2024 
  2. LinkedIn Learning, 2023, 2023 Workplace Learning Report,, 22/4/2024
  3. Van Bommel, T, 2021, The Power of Empathy in Times of Crisis and Beyond, Catalyst,, 7/5/2024


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