Soft leadership is a new concept I read about today in the Spring 2012 issue of Leader to Leader, a journal on leadership published by Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute.
Even though the concept of putting soft and leadership together as a leadership style or types is new, I think the idea behind it is certainly not new.
We know to be a great leader, we need soft skills, i.e., people skills. Rao blends soft skills with leadership to come up with this new term of soft leadership.
Rao lists 11 characteristics that distinguish great leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, MLK Jr., Mother Teresa, and the Dalai Lama:
His list overlaps with the list I shared in my article The 30 C’s of leadership.
I can’t agree more with what Rao says about soft leadership:
“Soft leadership touches on caring, connecting, and communicating with people to accomplish desired goals. Soft leaders are basically people-oriented rather than task-oriented. They empathize with others and look at the issues from a human perspective. They have compassion toward others … Soft leadership involves making others feel important. Always look at their strengths and appreciate sincerely.”
I see many leaders fail because they don’t have good soft skills. Great leaders always have excellent people skills.
If you want to learn more about soft leadership, read the journal article or Rao’s book with the same title.