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Every Human Has a Story: 3 Steps to Effectively Lead via Soft Skills

As aspiring leaders in our modern World, we must understand the importance of mastering the necessary social (soft) skills in order to reach our following. Many people think the idea of having soft skills means simply the ability to communicate effectively. While this is certainly a piece of the overall content of soft skills, it doesn’t stop there. Aspiring leaders must understand the importance of factoring in human emotion as well. Using a metaphor, the fact of the matter is, behind each person is a story wanting to be read. We as effective leaders must become the readers of each individual’s story. Unfortunately, here is where a large portion fail within their various leadership roles. A vast majority of people (especially in the corporate world) refuse to recognize each individual’s story. Therefore, they portray a cold, selfish personality based solely on production and adhering to financial demands. However, most may say that this is simply being a “good business person.” While this may be true, it is only one-half of the big picture. Even though leadership based solely on financial terms may bring one physical riches and personal accolades, it is likely to lead to internal poverty and lack of fulfillment. Taking the time to tap into each person’s story will surely do wonders in one’s quest for effective, impactful leadership. The devil’s advocate may say something like: “Well, I just do not have the time to learn about each person’s life story, I have a job to do and that is to produce results!” While this is surely most people’s mindset, it should be noted that it’s often not necessary to read one’s full story, often just a chapter or two is enough to prove your intentions and earn respect. The key here is to take the necessary time to scan their story and find the “touchy subjects” (chapters) specific to each individual. The reality is, we all have a past and we all have dark moments that live within us in some way or another. These moments affect our mood, behavior, personality & actions (or lack thereof). That being said, it is our job as effective leaders to discover these “touchy subjects” and use them to earn respect and enhance our quality of leadership. This process involves 3 Steps:

1) Be Vulnerable to Receive Vulnerably

Just like their name implies, “touchy subjects” are difficult to get one to admit or be open to talking about. Therefore, aspiring leaders need to be willing to share their vulnerabilities with their followers. Understand that this creates an atmosphere of acceptance and openness. When we can talk about or admit to our past downfalls, it opens the door of comfort for others to show us theirs as well.

2) Relate

Once we can tap into a “touchy subject”, it is important to use that scenario and relate it to our own experiences and express it to the said individual. If this isn’t possible, we must then be able to show our respect and admiration for their courage and handling of said situation. At the end of the day, human beings find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in terms of experiencing struggle and dealing with pain. The power of relating to/appreciating the handling of others’ difficult experiences can play a huge role in earning respect and building a strong connection with each individual.

3) Use the Power of Earned Respect to Inspire

Now that we have tapped into the “touchy subject” and related it to our own life, it is time to use the power of earned respect. Steps one and two have allowed us to achieve this. After we have the respect of each individual, we are then in a position to achieve greatness both in terms of business ventures and overall fulfillment. Now that we have connected with these people on a personal level and earned their respect, they are way more likely to go that extra mile to not let us and the overall group down.

Each person is a story wanting to be read. Understanding this can be a breakthrough for those looking to effectively lead in 2020 and beyond. In the modern world, personal leadership is a stepping stone toward effective leadership. We all have a story filled with “touchy subjects”. Rather than setting them aside and ignoring them based on time and production demands, let’s choose to open the books behind each individual. Whether we realize it or not, the key to earning respect lies within their pages.


Want to learn more about leadership values and skills? Buy a copy of SWALEADERSHIPEffective Leadership for a Modern World available at Amazon today. Zach Hoffman is an award-winning author who strives to provide coaching to those looking to make positive life transformations. His book advises readers on how to adapt their leadership strategy to modern-day norms to succeed in the present and future leadership endeavors.