7 States of Being That Beat Hard Skills in Any Industry Any Day of the Week

Some call them soft skills, but to capture them one must embrace a certain state of mind. Leaders must leverage soft skills to keep remote teams productive.
7 States of Being That Beat Hard Skills in Any Industry Any Day of the Week
Heidi Dulebohn

Since March 2020, we’ve gone from the wonderment of Zoom to near total fatigue with the technology. Yet, more than 515 million professionals meet on global virtual platforms daily.

We’ve faced many new challenges as we navigated primarily indoor personal and professional lives. We had to! In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the workplace of yesteryear is gone for good.

Now technology is paving the way, and it’s imperative that leaders know how to manage global teams of employees working in-person, remotely, and possibly on-demand.

How can you ensure your team thrives in a 24-hour, boundaryless world?

That’s where these seven states of being come in. Some might call them soft skills, but I think leaders have to embrace them more fully, more holistically, as a state of mind, a way to be.

Why? Well, regardless of what hard or technical skills you might possess, mastering the following seven states of being can give you a distinct edge, and help to ensure you thrive in a 24-hour, boundaryless world.

These seven are the foundation of empathy and creativity, which we need as we define new ways to manage the increasingly blurred lines between personal and professional life — and still meet our goals and objectives.

1. Be a master communicator

Your message is only as good as your ability to communicate it. Leaders, for instance, must be consistently clear, concise, and translatable across cultures and languages.

Everyone on the team must understand and embrace common goals and expectations, and all team members should feel that they have an open communication channel with their leader. Communicating is about more than what we say, our body language says volumes, too.

Be relatable, authentic, and certainly be consistent in tone, delivery, messaging, and behavior.

2. Be appropriately innovative

Technology is constantly evolving, and thank goodness. It’s what allows us to work remotely on a global scale. But we must determine which tools are best for team activities. It’s a dynamic situation; 76% of businesses plan on long-term IT changes due to the pandemic.

Leaders will need to stay on top of the situation to ensure that tools are simply that — tools — and not cumbersome new obstacles to overcome in the course of getting work done.

Teams should be able to concentrate on a project, not on continuously learning yet another complicated new platform or system.

3. Be creative in your role

Leaders should consider how they can mix things up to keep a teams’ ideas fresh and plentiful, and ensure they stay motivated and productive. What new or different tactics could inspire your team to meet goals and employ some creativity in their daily role?

Innovation is important. Even the same necessary tasks may need to be retooled or reconsidered to fit into a remote, tech-centric workplace.

4. Be gratefully collaborative

No person is an island, even if someone is working from one. Each of our colleagues and peers has valuable expertise that we can use to enhance our own work product and meet business goals. Take advantage of it, and don’t hesitate to share your expertise where appropriate.

Actively encourage and facilitate collaboration wherever possible.

Leaders in particular need to know how to collaborate effectively, especially across diverse and geographically dispersed teams. But regardless of your role, it’s best to actively encourage and facilitate collaboration wherever possible.

5. Be emotionally intelligent

To be empathetic is one of the most critical — yet unsung — states of being there is. It enables you to be mindful of others in ways you might not have been before. For example, now it’s important for leaders to consider the “whole person” not just what we see at work because working remotely poses challenges most of us haven’t consistently had to deal with before.

Emotional intelligence is also about maintaining balance. In certain situations, the in-person workers may have an advantage when it comes to face time with a leader.

Make sure everyone has equal representation, opportunities, and voice.

6. Be culturally aware

Cultural competence is a necessity these days. Leaders in particular must be culturally aware when leading global teams. That means being mindful of different customs, languages, nuances, rituals, and important dates in each team members’ culture. This promotes respect and appreciation for all of the benefits cultural diversity can bring to a team and to the business.

The world has gotten quite small.

It’s easy to offend when you’re unaware. So, make an effort to learn, and leverage cultural differences to build valuable relationships.

7. Believe in the power of etiquette

At its core, etiquette is more than just which knife and fork to use. It’s about consistently and thoughtfully treating people with kindness and respect, two valuable nouns that we should all acquire as we navigate personal and professional life.

Etiquette is about consistently and thoughtfully treating people with kindness and respect.

For instance, etiquette could be a secret weapon for a leader determined to foster a collaborative company culture; one where diversity and inclusion initiatives flourish and everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.

Consistently employing etiquette in communication and behavior will help a diverse team feel safe to voice their opinions and suggestions — even when working remotely — which could facilitate innovation, process improvements and other efficiencies that can improve workflow, operations, and even create new products and services.

The “new normal” workplace is actually a bit of a misnomer, since it’s already happened, and is now our reality. We’re still suffering growing pains, but all of the changes the workplace is experiencing are exciting, and they offer endless possibilities and potential.

Mastering these seven states of being can empower you to reach new heights personally and certainly professionally.

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