Soft Skills Camp Leaders
Need to Master
Camp leaders often gain their roles after years of experience working in various other positions in their organization. They gain knowledge and skills specific to the industry and, sometimes even, their specific site through that process. This growth process is especially important in understanding the organization’s site and facilities, fundraising, and program models.
In addition to this very important set of knowledge, skills, and experiences, camp leaders also MUST have a particular set of, what we call, soft skills.
Don’t be deceived. These skills are not ‘soft’ because they are weak or less important. They are called ‘soft’ because they aren’t as visible and measurable
Otherwise known as emotional intelligence, soft skills include interpersonal relationships, communication, negotiation, empathy, teamwork, motivation, problem-solving, and conflict resolution.
The problem is that we often assume that people are born with these things. That’s not true. They can be learned, and they can definitely improve when practiced and coached.
Consider these ways leaders can grow in soft skills:
Individual coaching is a hot trend right now, especially amongst senior leaders. An experienced coach can guide a leader through personal development in a unique way because they are not a part of the story. A good coach asks the right questions and helps the leader see things through different lenses.
Specialize leadership training
Google it. There are countless online and in-person options for leadership training related to soft skill development. Sometimes, the simple act of learning new vocabulary related to these areas of expertise can help a leader shift their thinking and ways of responding.
Self-Observe, practice, debrief
A good leader can see their behaviors and thought patterns in an objective way. They can recognize good and bad practices, make shifts as needed, then acknowledge the differences. However, there are times when even a good leader needs some help. Review number one!
Do an assessment
There are countless assessments that help us recognize our strengths, characteristics, and communication styles. We recommend Strengths Finders, Enneagram, and Everything DiSC. An individual can use these tools, but their value grows when your whole team participates, learns, and evaluates what it means when they interact with others.
Don’t stop growing
There is always room for growth and improvement, especially in the soft skills category of leadership competencies. This isn’t only true for leaders; it’s true for your whole team!