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What are Soft Skills
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Soft Skills

What are Soft Skills

Soft Skills Definition

Soft skills are those attributes allowing an individual to interact and work well with others. This may include great communication, emotional intelligence, empathy, work ethic, and teamwork.

While hard skills are crucial for effective product management, a lack of certain soft skills can make leadership more of a challenge. Great product managers are capable of:

effective conflict resolution, good time management, networking, creative and critical thought, fast decision-making, and problem solving. 

Hard skills are fundamental, sure. But soft skills can contribute to stronger product management overall; empowering teams to deliver better results with less internal conflict. 

What are important soft skills in product management

One of the most important soft skills for a product manager is the ability to listen. When a designer or developer has a problem to solve, they want a leader to hear what they’re saying and offer practical support. 

That’s why communication is also key in product management. This extends beyond giving good team pep talks. It encompasses all forms of communication, from well-written briefs and clear roadmaps, to being transparent with all colleagues.

Lastly, a product manager who’s too focused on their own work, gets distracted easily, or struggles to put themselves in the other person’s shoes may be unable to offer the right level of leadership. So empathy is also a critical soft skill.

General FAQ

Why are soft skills important?
Soft skills empower product managers to interact with their teams, stakeholders, and users effectively. An ability to inspire, persuade, and negotiate all prove beneficial at one time or another. Even with expert hard skills, a lack of soft skills can leave teams unable to perform to their full potential.
What are some soft skills examples?
Soft skills include communication, working well with others, resolving conflict, thinking critically and creatively, adapting to changing situations, being organized, managing time well, motivating others, and solving problems. These dictate how effectively an individual interacts with others, manages their workload and contributes to the end goal.
What are the soft skills a product manager should have?
A product manager should be able to listen and communicate actively and empathically. Of course, an ability to organize themselves and others is also key. Product teams often work under pressure, particularly as deadlines loom, and a good manager keeps them focused and motivated.
What is the difference between hard skills and soft skills?
Hard skills are learned, measurable abilities, such as typing speed, programming, speaking multiple languages, etc. Soft skills are more difficult to quantify, but are no less vital in a professional setting. Soft skills can be learned, too, through coaching and training. But they tend to be more natural abilities, like being a good listener.
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