Managers are responsible for inspiring, motivating, and encouraging the people they manage. For them to be able to execute their role excellently, a number of soft skills have to come in handy. According to Google, soft skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. Whereas hard skills are learned abilities acquired and enhanced through practice, repetition, and education. Angela Uwineza, who is doing management career-centred courses at Rwanda Management Institute, says that soft skills are vital because they help you relate more to employees, understand them and help them be more productive. “Hard skills are nothing without soft skills; employees in the workplace want a manager that is good at listening, communicating and flexible. Lacking that but still have an education in management will be useless,” she says. Eric Gasana, a management student too explains that soft skills are harder to learn because they require a strong observation of your teammates. “Getting to know the people you work with requires time and attention; you need to know how to interact with them, how to communicate with them, and how they perform differently at work so that it can be easy for you to manage them. It is also creating a relationship between you and your employees, they need to trust you and for them to do so, you should be having those interpersonal skills,” he states. According to Indeed, an online paper that talks about career management and decision making, soft skills for management professionals include any interpersonal qualities that allow managers to oversee a team of employees on a daily basis. By learning more about the types of soft skills that can benefit managers, you can determine which skill areas you want to improve upon to continue improving in a leadership role. What are the top soft skills? Allen Uwayo, a manager in an advertising company, says that all managers should take time to learn about soft skills, and do research on what they are, for better management of employees. “As a manager, I am always learning about my employees and paying close attention to the workforce. I am serving my employees and therefore I need to serve them in a good manner, soft skills are what makes a manager stand out and recognised as a potential leader, that’s why we should always learn about them and develop them,” she says. An article by Fond, an online page that helps companies to build a happier workforce shared a few soft skills to start with as a manager: Transparency Once upon a time, it was acceptable to keep things on a need-to-know basis with your employees. Times have changed. Employees expect you to be transparent with them. They want to know what’s going on with their company and how they are doing. Excellent communication Managers need to be excellent communicators, which means, maintaining regular contact with everyone on their team, providing frequent feedback, and delivering rewards and ecognition for excellent performance. Managers need to communicate with their employees in ways that make them comfortable. Listening skills When we hear the phrase, “good communicator,” we generally think about speaking or writing rather than listening. But when discussing the qualities of a good manager, listening is just as important. Employees want to know that their opinions and insights are being heard. Appreciating and encouraging teamwork Companies that encourage teamwork enjoy improved efficiency, work outcomes, and individual development. Managers should support collaboration at every opportunity and mitigate toxic behaviour and unhealthy competition. Consistency and reliability Employees need to know that their leader is stable, secure, and reliable. They will come to you for clarification regarding organisational objectives, views on their work, and advice.