Good business leadership requires diverse skills or, at a minimum, the ability to assemble a team that possesses them. In the rough-and-tumble of business, the so-called soft skills are incredibly important, even if they don’t always get the respect they deserve.

Sam Parker of Give More notes that smart leaders don’t “dismiss the importance of the soft skills (patience, kindness, approachability, encouragement ‒ even the simple act of smiling).” These skills have a positive impact on the information flow that organizations require to stay healthy. They also help encourage enthusiasm, which leads to “the attention and extra effort that we all want to see from ourselves and each other.”

Getting Thanks—and Giving It

I can attest to the second point. Not long ago, I opened an envelope containing payment from a client. Wrapped around the check was a copy of my invoice and on that invoice she had written “Thank you so much. You were a pleasure to work with.” Wow.

As a hardworking copywriter, I try to hit home runs consistently. Often, I’m successful. Still, there are times when quibbles seem more common than praise. Can you imagine how motivating that note was? I was happy for days afterwards, even taping it to the wall by my desk to cheer me along in my efforts.

My client, a skilled divorce mediator, knows an invaluable leadership secret: if you’re happy with someone, tell them so. If there’s something positive to be said, say it. A small, hand-written note or a word of praise can make a huge difference. You can be sure I’ll remember her appreciation on our next project together.

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