The Hard Science Behind Soft Skills

Only 11 percent of senior leaders are effective at displaying empathy and maintaining other’s esteem.

3. Empathy is the linchpin soft skill.

Of all the leadership soft skills, empathy is arguably the most critical. In his book “Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution” author Roman Krznaric said empathy “is not just about seeing things from another perspective. It’s the cornerstone of smart leadership. The real competitive advantage of the human worker will be their capacity to create relationships which means empathy will count more than experience.”

Using the DDI database on new frontline leaders, we correlated the effect of each interaction skill on overall assessment performance and each of four leadership tasks. Empathy was the most foundational soft skill, with the largest positive relationship across the board, followed by encouraging the involvement of others.