Does everyone on your team have the skills they need to thrive in their role? It’s unlikely since nearly nine in ten executives and managers say their organizations either face skill gaps already or expect them to develop within the next five years. 

Once you’ve recognized the skills gap exists, you’ll need to determine which skills employees need most and which employees can help create a learning culture at your organization. Kara Ronin, Founder of Executive Impressions and Udemy Business Leadership instructor, believes that managers bear a particular responsibility for modeling continuous learning of power skills. Here’s why. 

Power skills get a bad rap

The most in-demand skills aren’t just about staying ahead of the technology curve. Skills related to leadership, teamwork, communication, productivity, and wellness are critical to every employee’s performance. This is why it no longer makes sense to call them “soft skills,” and many HR leaders are now using the term “power skills.” 

While there’s a growing awareness of the importance of power skills, Kara says that many people still have a mental block when learning them. They think these skills aren’t crucial for their career progression — often because formal education doesn’t place much importance on power skills.

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Managers have the power to alter perceptions

Managers have a major impact on their team members’ experiences and attitudes. In fact, Gallup finds that managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. 

When managers demonstrate their commitment to improving their power skills, this sends a powerful message to their team. If managers and leaders show they value power skills and prioritize developing them, their direct reports are likely to change their perceptions and see the value in these skills, Kara says.   

One-and-done learning doesn’t cut it

Keep in mind that committing to power skills development is an ongoing process. “You can’t just start one day and forget about it for the rest of the year. It needs to become part of your leadership life,” says Kara. Rather than creating an open-door policy and expecting employees to come to you with their learning goals, Kara recommends proactively checking in with your team members. Take a coaching mentality, which involves checking in frequently and aligning a sense of purpose with your team members’ everyday work.  

Help your team communicate, lead, and succeed

Want to dig deeper into why power skills matter, which ones will help your team prepare for the future, and specific strategies for integrating power skills into your team’s learning programs? Kara recently sat down to discuss all these topics and more with Udemy Learning Partner John O’Neill in a webinar, Unlocking Power Skills. Watch the webinar on-demand