Searching for management opportunities? Looking to climb the ladder all the way to the C-suite? If so, which skills should you develop to accelerate the process? There are many soft skills that you should consider building up, so we’re only going to talk about a few key ones in this article.

They’re a good starting point to help you level up your developer marketing leadership and get that promotion or new role you’re after.

Why is it important to develop leadership skills?

Before we dive into the soft skills you might want to consider, first let’s look at their importance.

For instance, having a wide range of skills can make you a more attractive candidate, whether you’re searching for a new role or a promotion (in our State of Developer Marketing 2022 Report, we found that 13.3% of respondents were looking for new opportunities in the industry).

In addition, by investing in your own personal development, you can also boost your productivity. Another benefit is that learning new skills can give you the edge over your competitors, whether when searching for a new role or when leading a team or department.

As we’ve mentioned, there are many soft skills that leaders should have, and listing them all would be impossible – here’s the next best thing, a curated list of nine skills to focus on as a developer marketer:

9 soft leadership skills you should build up

1. Communication

Effective communication skills are a must for anyone working in a team or leading a group of people. It allows you to communicate with people in a simple and clear manner, so that the relationships you build (whether with team members, developers, or partners) become even stronger.

On top of this, when you have clear and efficient communication, you can better accomplish your goals and objectives – such as community OKRs or DevRel metrics – and communicating both the org’s vision and the campaigns’ results is easier.

Good communication skills translate into active listening, being able to provide and receive feedback, understanding people’s emotions, collaborating well with others, etc.

2. Motivating other people

Another skill that leaders should have or develop is the ability to motivate, inspire or influence others. This can lead to higher levels of satisfaction (and therefore employee retention), a boost in productivity and performance, and more efficient teams.

Motivating others can take the form of:

  • Providing encouragement,
  • Rewarding people for their efforts,
  • Setting achievable goals,
  • Having a clear business vision,
  • And so much more.

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3. Problem-solving

Leaders must be able to find solutions to problems, as well as have the ability to minimize risks and implement strategies. In order to problem solve, it’s crucial to first identify the problem and analyze it, so that you can more easily find the root of it. Other steps include creating and testing solutions and finding the one that solves the issue on hand.

4. Resilience

It goes without saying that resilience (meaning the ability to survive and thrive even when things get tough), is crucial for everyone who wants to become a leader. Making mistakes or facing obstacles is normal but, without resilience, it’d be impossible to reflect on what went wrong, accept the new situation and learn from mistakes in order to persevere.

5. Identifying opportunities

How good are you at noticing potential opportunities? Top performers and leaders tend to have a wide array of attributes and, among them, the ability to spot favorable situations and circumstances ranging from simple to complex.

Whether identifying new talent, realizing what’s missing in their org’s strategy, pursuing a new role, or understanding how to turn a failure into a success, honing your opportunity-spotting skills can help you to stand out from your colleagues and help you climb the ladder.

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6. Conflict resolution

Managing conflict is essential in any company. It’s a skill not many possess but it’s one which belongs in any leader’s arsenal, especially because it promotes harmony in the workplace, increases the team’s morale, and ensures everyone remains focused on their goals (i.e., makes sure people remain productive).

Part of having good conflict resolution skills is understanding and respecting people’s differences, asking questions that allow you gather all the information you need to make a decision, ensuring impartiality, listening effectively, and being able to hold people accountable when necessary.

7. Mentoring

Leadership can take several forms, including mentoring – which can be a good way to help you develop your leadership skills too. After all, by taking someone under your wing, you’re training them and helping them to reach their goals and become more successful at their job.

Leaders guide individuals and teams while supporting their personal and professional development, and making sure they have someone to talk to when they want to.

8. Creativity

Creative leaders don’t just think outside the box, they can also implement innovative concepts and strategies efficiently into the company (something others might struggle with).

This creativity allows them to look at what their competitors are doing, spot gaps and opportunities, and come up with imaginative solutions no one else has put forward before. Creativity is also important because it helps people to navigate a difficult situation and to adapt to changes in the industry or org.

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9. Strategic planning

This skill is all about understanding the company’s vision and setting up goals and plans that help you achieve it. Leaders must be able to recommend the right course of action, communicate strategies to key stakeholders, identify areas that require improvement, track and measure the efficiency of these strategies, and so much more.

Boost your leadership skills with the Developer Marketing Alliance

What better way to develop you, and your team's, leadership skills than by learning from the best leaders in developer marketing?

Get Developer Marketing Certified and:

  • Find ways to develop effective relations with devs and stakeholders,
  • Find the best marketing strategy for your company,
  • Ask the questions you really need answered,

And more.

Want leadership insights on top of industry takeaways? Then our State of Developer Marketing 2022 Report is for you!