The Importance of “Soft” Leadership Skills

blog header with headshots of lindsay shookus, scott mann, dethra giles, and stanley mcchrystal

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The Art of Soft Leadership

“Soft” skills are the bedrock upon which effective leadership is built. While technical expertise and strategic vision are undeniably crucial, it is the soft skills — such as communication, trust, purpose, emotional intelligence, and authenticity — that breathe life into leadership and transform individuals into the type of leader that inspires people and drives positive outcomes throughout the entire organization.

These top-rated leadership experts share valuable insights on how anyone can develop their soft leadership skills in order to motivate their workforce, spark connection and collaboration, and drive innovation, growth, and success within their organization.

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It’s estimated that communication barriers cost the average organization upwards of $60 million per year in lost productivity. As the marketplace and workplace continue to be disrupted, and teamwork continues to take place both in the office and on Zoom, these crowd-pleasing speakers share their strategies for how leaders can up their communication game.

  • Dethra Giles, Executive Leadership & HR Strategist, Modern Workplace Influencer, Career Consultant, who dares audiences to communicate more effectively as she shares a step-by-step framework that will positively change the way they interact as leaders.
  • Dr. Sammy Ramsey, Inspirational Changemaker in Science & Society, Cutting-Edge Communicator, an engaging presence on stage who explains the vital role of communication as a leader, as well as practical lessons from the world of entomology on how anyone can become a more effective communicator.
  • Mark Bowden, Expert in Body Language, Human Behavior & Communication, who shares winning verbal and nonverbal behaviors that leaders can use to communicate in a style that is transparent, courageous, compelling, and conversational.
  • Jim VandeHei & Mike Allen, Co-Founders of AXIOS and POLITICO, who introduce audiences to “Smart Brevity” and share powerful lessons for saying more with less and communicating with impact.


Trust is the basis of any relationship, and relationships are the foundation for any successful organization. As the workplace experience continues to evolve, what steps can leaders take to build trust in fast-moving, high-stakes environments? These trust experts share more.

  • DeDe Halfhill, Renowned Leadership Expert and Colonel, USAF (Ret.), who shares humorous anecdotes and heartwarming stories full of lessons for how leaders can build trust and connection, and empower their people in meaningful ways.
  • Stanley McChrystal, Former Commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan, Co-Founder of the McChrystal Group, who uses battle-tested lessons from his remarkable military career to inspire leaders to rethink their approaches to cultivating trust within their organizations.
  • Evy Poumpouras, Former Secret Service Special Agent and Interrogator, Co-Host of Bravo TV’s “Spy Games,” who shares powerful communication strategies from inside the Secret Service in order to demonstrate how leaders can build trust with their teams and influence any situation to achieve the desired outcome.  
  • Lindsay Shookus, Longtime Saturday Night Live Producer, who reflects on her 20-year career spent building trust with SNL cast members and celebrities to delve into the mindfulness behind the madness of nurturing trust and authentic relationships in a fast-paced environments.


Purpose is what drives a leader’s decisions and actions, and provides a clear sense of meaning that trickles through to all levels of the organization. When leaders embrace a well-defined purpose, they not only inspire themselves, they also motivate their teams and create a shared sense of mission that fuels collective efforts. These purpose-driven leaders share sought after insights for making principled choices that benefit the business, and the people who power it.      

  • Samuel Bertram, Pragmatic Futurist, Agricultural Entrepreneur, Global Changemaker, the founder and CEO of an organization dedicated to eliminating world hunger, he rallies audiences around values-based business and shares new-age strategies for leading with purpose.
  • Cassi Chandler, Motivational Leadership Expert, FBI’s First African American Female Special Agent Assistant Director, who provides an action plan for how leaders and their organizations can discover their purpose and use it as the guiding principle for creating more connected cultures.
  • Scott Mann, U.S. Army Green Beret (Ret.), Human Connection Coach, Operation Pineapple Express Mission Leader, who encourages leaders and their organizations to “get surrounded on purpose” in order to forge deep connections and achieve something much greater than themselves.
  • Dr. Michael Sorrell, Visionary Leader, Institutional Change Agent, President of Paul Quinn College, a testament to the power of mission-driven leadership, he shows audience members how they can align their purpose to their path to success, both collectively and individually.  

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