Earned not Learned. Why Soft Skills in Data Leadership Are Make Or Break.

❌ What got you here will not get you there.

Leadership in data, as in all areas, has more to do with your interpersonal skills than it does with the hands on technical skills you’ve acquired over your career.

These “soft skills” are generally disregarded in our profession as we are coming up. And then, their absence hits us like a tonne of bricks the minute we find ourselves in our first leadership role.

To succeed in data leadership, we need to start honing these skills from day one.

But unlike technical skills, soft skills cannot be “learned”, they must be “earned”.

Let’s find out how. ⬇️

🤝 Build Networks Outside Your Comfort Zones

Actively network with professionals from different industries and backgrounds to gain diverse perspectives on leadership and soft skills.

Participate in community events, industry conferences, or online forums to broaden your understanding of effective leadership in various contexts.

Networking is all about helping people and selling yourself. There is likely no greater skills you’ll need as a leader than ability to execute on these areas.

⚽️ Learning Through Team Collaboration

Actively participate in diverse team projects to experience different communication styles, team dynamics, and conflict resolution strategies.

Take on roles that challenge your current skill set, such as leading a cross-functional team, to develop adaptability and team management skills.

This has the added benefit of helping you uncover and learn various challenges being faced by different teams throughout the business.

True leadership comes from your ability to help others. This will get you there very quickly. Embrace it!

🤔 Implementing Reflective Practices

Regularly reflect on past leadership experiences, evaluating what worked and what didn’t in terms of communication, decision-making, and team management.

Use journals or reflective logs to track your leadership journey, identifying patterns and areas for growth in your soft skills.

The key to success here will be honesty and openness with yourself.

Seeks feedback on your performance from others and incorporate that feedback alongside your own interpretation of your performance. This will help you gain perspective.

🏗 Engage in Professional Development Workshops

Attend workshops and seminars focused on leadership and soft skills development, specifically tailored to data-driven environments.

Practice the skills learned in these workshops in your professional setting, applying new techniques in real-world scenarios.

👴🏼 Embrace Mentorship and Leadership Coaching

Seek out mentors and coaches who excel in leadership and soft skills, observing and learning from their approach and experiences.

Engage in regular feedback sessions with these mentors to gain insights into personal leadership styles and areas for improvement.

Allow them to challenge your current thinking and assumptions about your own abilities.

Side note: I provide data leadership coaching to a wide range of data professionals all looking to advance their leadership skills and influence within their organisations.

Hit me up if you think this is something I can help you with!

⚡️Whenever you are ready here are a few ways I can help you: