In 2008, Google’s Project Oxygen began researching what makes a Google manager great.  

Seven of the eight most important qualities the project identified were soft skills. 

It has since added two further skills to the list – both of which are soft. 

Google says that training managers in these key soft skills has led to better management and improvements in performance and turnover.  

They are, says Google, “what makes a manager great at Google”.* 

What are hard and soft skills? 

Hard skills are the professional knowledge and technical expertise you need to carry out your job. Examples of hard skills include: 

  • Digital and technical expertise. 
  • Industry-specific experience and knowledge, for example, legal or medical. 
  • Skill in using tools, equipment and machinery. 
  • Scientific, mathematical, engineering and language abilities. 

Soft skills include the way someone behaves, communicates and relates to other people as well as key abilities such as time management, presentation skills and aspects of project management. Unlike hard skills, soft skills are not specific to a particular role or profession. 

Individuals who are exceptional at their job are often promoted into a management position, but this can cause difficulties in the workplace if their soft skills lag behind their hard skills. Discover eight reasons why it’s so hard to be a new manager – and what you can do about it. 

Develop and hone your soft skills 

Impellus offers a range of Level 3 training courses that are targeted at team leaders and newly promoted managers, enabling them to analyse, understand and apply key soft skills such as communications, presenting, delegation, coaching, and managing performance. These include: 

  • Leadership Skills Development: An essential course that is particularly relevant for managers who have never had any formal training or those new to a leadership role. 
  • Developing Winning Teams: This is particularly useful for those looking to inspire greater harmony, motivation and productivity from their people. 
  • Managing and Appraising Performance: This course will enable managers to use clear goals and targets to appraise the performance of their team members and provide effective feedback. 

Even high achievers who are already in senior leadership positions within your organisation may need to hone and develop the soft skills that play such a vital role in inspiring loyalty, buy-in and commitment from your people. Our Level 5 courses for middle and senior managers emphasise the importance of developing soft skills. For example: 

  • Organisational Leadership Skills helps delegates to explore their own leadership styles, the cultural impact they have on the organisation and how they can adapt to get the best from their people and the environment in which they are operating. 
  • Strategic Thinking and Decision Making concentrates on how to make faster and better decisions, strategic thinking and communicating vision, mission and values.” 

*Google’s list of ten top managerial behaviours 

  1. Be a good coach.
  2. Empower teams and don’t micromanage.
  3. Create an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being.
  4. Be productive and results oriented.
  5. Be a good communicator – listen and share information.
  6. Have a clear vision/strategy for the team.
  7. Support career development and discuss performance.
  8. Have the expertise to advise the team.
  9. Collaborate.
  10. Be a strong decision maker.