When I was a little girl, sitting on the couch, watching my older family members behaving badly, I did not know that I was starting to master my leadership skills through “soft power”. I learned how to tell stories, listen, use humor and observation to my benefit in gaining attention in a world where adults where not necessarily “engaged” with children. Many of these skills continue to benefit me today.
Soft power is a way to influence through communication style, persuasion, and a bit of fascination. It is learning how to use collaborative buy in to get people to want the same outcomes as you want.
The term “Soft Power” was created more than 30 years ago by Joseph Nye, the former dean of Harvard Kennedy School of Government for use in foreign policy conversations.
When this term was integrated into the business world, soft power was referred to how women lead. Women have shown to be able to master inclusion and engagement with others more easily, when it comes to problem solving and getting results with less exclusion and more buy in among peers and senior leadership.
Tips for developing your soft power:
1. Embrace your role with confidence and assuredness
2. Work on planning and prep in every aspect of your work role, come to the table ready
3. Adopt strong self-workflow routines that build on effectiveness and winning outcomes
4. Challenge your communication language to enhance collaborative conversation:
a. I agree with…
b. I would like to add…
c. I’d like to share and alternative perspective….
d. I’d like to call your attention to…
e. Looking at this in another way…
As with all work complexities using nuance focused soft power can assist to improve your place in the world of business, adding to your credibility, respect, and leadership prowess.