Successful leadership relies on a variety of soft skills. Here are the top eight leadership soft skills that should be promoted within their teams to thrive in your software development projects.
Leadership is the ability to lead teams successfully to achieve objectives on schedule. Optimizing that capacity requires time and practice. Its success depends on the development of certain soft skills that allows for the achievement of sensitivity and proper group management in positive and adverse situations.
Which basic characteristics should leaders (or aspiring leaders) promote inside their teams to play an effective role in overcoming obstacles and challenges along the way? In the following lines, I will go deep into what, in my opinion and based on my experience, I consider to be the most relevant leadership soft skills to achieve your goals in your projects.
1. Fluid communication
Communication between a leader and the team must always be fluid and transparent. This is the basis of a good relationship. If there is no understanding and the information is not available to all members at all times, they may feel left out.
At this point, it will also be essential to establish the appropriate communication tools, taking into account the urgency of the communication. Email, a private chat, a Skype group, Whatsapp, or phone calls are some of the options that can be considered to maintain constant communication. The most important thing is that the whole team knows which communication channel to use at any given time and whom to contact to create more effective communication.
2. Measure the team’s performance
What is not measured cannot be improved. If we do not measure, there is no control to lead the team towards the established objectives. Therefore, it is very important to have criteria to measure the team’s performance. Establishing quantitative and qualitative performance indicators will help to have a follow up of the team’s evolution to make decisions according to the results.
For example, if the team is using an Agile methodology, we can analyze the difference between planned and delivered Story Points, as well as the number of bugs per Sprint, or compliance with delivery dates.
3. Delegate wisely
This is one of the leadership soft skills that requires the most effort from a leader and will undoubtedly define the team’s efficiency to a great extent.
Most people want to maintain control over everything and find it challenging to delegate responsibilities to others. However, team members need to gain autonomy and confidence, not only to develop their full potential and put it toward the service of the team but to feel valued.
In order to delegate, it is necessary to understand that one person cannot have precise answers for every situation. Team members must be able to respond to the challenges that might arise. Team confidence is essential in this, and preparing people to take on tasks on their own is key to motivating them and achieving the expected goals.
4. Be as clear as water
A leader must be completely transparent with his/her team. Hiding information or failing to communicate news or situations that may affect the well-being and performance of the group on time is a mistake that can be costly to fix. Honesty with the team is crucial to consolidate a good work environment and keep members aligned in pursuit of the same objectives.
5. Provide feedback to the team
Giving feedback to team members is one of the most important tasks of a leader, but at the same time, it is one of the most difficult since each person can receive this information differently, according to their personality. Developing the sensitivity needed to transmit these messages is essential to the success of the process.
Feedback should be done in a respectful, specific, and transparent way with a constructive tone and using concrete examples. It should always start with the positive things — highlighting strengths and looking for ways to consolidate them. Subsequently, weaknesses should be exposed to turn them into opportunities for improvement.
6. Be open to receive feedback
Being a leader does not mean you are not part of a team. Receiving feedback is as important as giving it. A successful leader knows he/she must grow and improve every day with his/her team’s help.
Listening, evaluating, and implementing your comments and recommendations is the best way to optimize the leader’s performance and behavior.
To achieve this, it is important to generate the right moments and spaces to allow collaborators to express themselves freely and comfortably. The leader must learn to listen carefully and debate the arguments respectfully to take the information to create their improvement plans. There is nothing more valuable than listening to the team’s opinions to understand the mistakes that are made on a daily basis.
7. Support employees in difficult times
We’re human, and problems can arise. We are not at our best at all times, and there are many factors (internal and external) that can cause us to not always perform at our best. As a leader, you should give a boost to your team members that you see more scattered or struggling.
Allow them to get back on track and propose goals that will motivate them and move forward. Encourage a team culture based on support and collaboration.
8. Celebrate the results
The culture of celebrating milestones achieved by the team facilitates team cohesion and integration and increases team members’ motivation and commitment.
Take a look at this: 7 skills of a good team leader in software development
To Sum Up
There is a close relationship between the time invested and the leader’s efforts to keep their teams motivated and the results obtained by the team. Also, good team organization always improves the members’ morale and mood, which can be seen not only in their performance but also in the spirit and creativity they show in their day-to-day work.
I am sure that putting these leadership soft skills into practice will increase your team’s productivity and will help you in achieving your goals. Do you have any other in mind?
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