Corporate surveys continually show that soft skills — including communication, leadership, team working and emotional intelligence — continue to be critical to career success. Today, this is as true in office settings as it is in the virtual world, where video conferences, chats, and emails require different sets of soft skills.
Fortunately, there are a number of great executive education programs that help leaders to hone these important abilities. Many of the programs help executives to sharpen their communication skills to deliver praise, build rapport and become more persuasive.
Many of the soft skill-oriented executive courses focus on interpersonal dynamics. People skills are vital to developing strong business relationships and to engage with others more deeply. Participants in these executive programs in soft skills also hone their leadership abilities, learning how to help others realize their potential or confront poor performance or toxic behavior.
Many of the courses are about leading with purpose, authenticity and humanity, putting employee wellbeing at front of mind. Leading with empathy, communication and engagement can improve organizational performance.
Other executive programs focus on emotional intelligence, with participants learning skills for building high performance teams, resolving conflict and managing effectively.
See below for the Top 10 Executive Courses to Improve Your Soft Skills.
New York University’s Stern School of Business puts on the Communication Strategies: Developing Leadership Presence program. Participants practice developing and delivering messages that support their personal brand. Through videotaped sessions, they identify strengths and weaknesses in their communication style. They also get feedback from faculty to make improvements, leaving the course with a stronger leadership presence.View School Profile
University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business runs the Communications Excellence program. Participants are empowered to overcome public speaking anxiety and hone their presentation abilities to captivate their audiences, important factors in soft skill development. They learn to leverage their breath, body and voice to maximize their presence and impact while speaking. They also learn to recognize when something is not working, and how to pivot on-the-fly.View School Profile
Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business offers a Communicating with Impact module within its LEAD Online Business Program. The soft skill module is designed to help participants become better communications. Throughout the hands-on course, executives sharpen their communication skills through role-playing exercises, learning how to deliver praise, account for mistakes, build rapport and become more persuasive. They also learn about communication biases, and how to lead meetings.View School Profile
London Business School has its High Performance People Skills for Leaders program, that helps leaders to build the confidence and capabilities to communicate with their teams. Participants in this executive course learn how to develop influential relationships with diverse groups of people, as well as motivate and inspire people, building teams that work together in harmony. What’s more, the participants gain coaching skills to help others realize their potential and confront poor performance or difficult people.View School Profile
King’s Business School runs a practical, soft skill-oriented short course called Emotional Intelligence for Leadership. Contrary to popular opinion, EQ is a skill that can be learnt and honed. On this program, participants learn skills for building high performance teams, resolving conflict and managing effectively. They also develop their own resilience while learning powerful techniques to enhance their working relationships.View School Profile
Darden Executive Education puts on the Leading with Humanity: New Skills for the Digital Age course. The program is about how soft skills such as empathy, communication and encouragement can help participants to raise organizational performance by helping others achieve their potential. Participants learn to lead and engage people more deeply, and cultivate an environment of transparency and collaboration when everyone has equal input.View School Profile
The Refining Your Leadership Approach and Style program at Texas Executive Education helps leaders to identify, optimize and adapt their personal leadership style. Through a combination of classroom instruction, peer discussion and practical exercises, participants learn how to deploy the most effective leadership style for a given situation, and define the legacy they want to leave behind as a leader.View School Profile
Babson College’s program, Conscious Leadership: Leading with Authenticity and Purpose, helps develop leaders who are inclusive and team-oriented, who inspire and bring out the best in those around them. In this course, participants learn how to adapt their approach to leadership—a critical soft skill—to become more conscious and to lead with authenticity, putting employee wellbeing at the core of what they do.View School Profile
Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management runs the Interpersonal Dynamics course, which provides executives with the skills to become more effective leaders and to influence those around them. Participants learn the soft skills to improve the functioning of their teams, how to overcome differences and toxic behavior.View School Profile
Johns Hopkins University, Carey Business School puts on the Foundations of Leadership and Management course. In this program, participants learn the fundamentals of leading and managing teams with purpose. More specifically, they learn how to select and motivate the right people to join their teams, and how to leverage group processes and personal networks to become more effective leaders.View School Profile
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