Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

  • Orrin Woodward

    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

    This blog is an Alltop selection and ranked in HR's Top 100 Blogs for Management & Leadership.

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The Soft Skills of Leadership

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 4, 2013

Jean Leslie, a senior fellow with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), identified ten soft skills for successful business leadership. Each one of these ten skills is taught in the LIFE business. In fact, I believe the soft skills are the difference makers in a leader’s success. Performers can get themselves to do the necessary tasks, but a leader must develop the soft skills to create a culture of success in an organization. Over the next several weeks, I will be diving into these ten skills to identify how to improve in each one. I have had a front-row seat in encouraging and mentoring many top leaders today who have worked on their soft skills. LIFE is life training for everyone to grow and become the leader he or she was called to be. Here are the ten soft skills.


Orrin Woodward

1. Self-awareness: Leaders must have an accurate picture of their strengths and weaknesses.

2. Learning agility: This is an individual’s readiness, willingness, and ability to learn from experience.

3. Emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence is a constellation of abilities that help leaders deal with their emotions and the emotions of others.

4. Resiliency: Bouncing back from adversity.

5. Building relationships at all levels: Being able to show compassion, sensitivity, and a sense of humor with others—above and below in organizational structure—and being able to cultivate these relationships toward positive business performance.

6. Political savvy: The ability to influence people to obtain goals. The heart of being politically savvy, according to CCL, is networking, reading situations, and thinking before speaking. Not every leader likes politics, but it’s present in every organization.

7. Motivating and engaging others: How many leaders have been successful when they cannot motivate their teams?

8. Building and leading effective teams: This is one of the top challenges CEOs report, according to CCL. Building trust, setting strategic direction, and breaking down silos are some of the micro skills needed.

9. Creating a culture of trust and respect: This has become a big challenge since the rise of virtual communication, yet trust and respect among team members—and chiefly among leaders—is paramount.

10. Communication: Voicing goals and inspiring others is vital—but so is listening.

63 Responses to “The Soft Skills of Leadership”

  1. Lisa Volkmann said

    Great post – very informative – I was just sitting here with my son reading your blog – we had a great conversation about the 10 points – thank you : )

  2. Juan Alcala said

    Great stuff Orrin, another arrow in the quiver.

  3. Beth said

    Yes, Orrin, this is what we all need! Thank you so much for making LIFE training available for us so we truly can BE what we were created by God to be!!!then we can keep going and choosing life…4 LIFE!!!God bless you for being and doing what God made you to BE for LIFE, and for inspiring and equipping us as well!!!

  4. Aron Radosa said

    I am really looking forward to your next couple of blogs. The PC that you have developed shine with these qualities. I want to know my blind spots in these areas & develop the ability to nurture my teammates. Thank you, Aron.

  5. I can’t wait to hear the details on each of these! This is going to be great!

  6. Joe Marchbanks said

    Looking forward to learning more about all of these soft skills especially #7.

  7. Great!!! I’m looking forward to your specific teaching in these areas! It will be so valuable to learn more on these skills!!!
    On to 1 Million! Kirk and I are playing our part!!!
    Nicole Porter

  8. Orrin,

    I like how Soft Skill #2 is “Learning AGILITY” and not just “Learning ABILITY”. Though we have the ABILITY to learn, developing AGILITY requires us to be Ready, Willing, and Able to adapt and work within a system of constant change.

    Wikipedia describes “AGILITY” as “the ability of a [system] to rapidly respond to change by adapting its initial stable configuration”

    I can’t wait to see how you unpack these 10 Soft Skills and expand each in its own thought.


  9. Robert Daley said

    Looking forward to the next few weeks Orrin. I need improvement in all 10 areas… It seems the more I learn the more I realize how dumb I was…. Thank you for using your time to help so many……..
    God bless

  10. Angie Ballah said

    WOW! What an exciting opportunity to have a personal growth intensive! Thank you for sharing your time and wisdom!

  11. Alex Obiden said

    As I have been recently reading the book “How to Win Friends and Influece People,” I have had the opportunity to grow myself if each of these areas. Everytime I reread that book it’s like I had never even read it before. There is always so much more unexplored depth to its contents, and I really find that in the soft leadership skills. Oddly enough the call them “soft skills” because it can get pretty rough as you are learning them. But some types of sandpaper make for smoother surfaces, right? Thanks as always Orrin. 🙂

  12. Peggi Kern said

    I have found that each of these soft skills has been taught through the Mental Fitness Challenge, the “RESOLVED, 13 Resolutions for Life” book, the LIFE & LLR Leadership subscriptions. and the new LIFE library. I can’t wait to continue to learn through your next few blogs! Thanks, Orrin!

  13. Susan Wamstad said

    There will be much to learn in all 10 of these skills. And I suspect #1 is #1 for a reason….

  14. Todd Punzenberger said

    I look forward to reading more blogs about the soft people skills.

    • Matt Mielke said

      Me too Todd! This was an area I had to work on more than anything else when Michelle and I started the journey of community building a handful of years ago. WOW, does it pay-off financially and relationally! I’m hungry for some more success thinking food.

  15. Yancy chaj said

    This is great article. Good to know and learn to improve the areas we need to be succesful. I will be looking foward to seeing your up coming blogs and going more in depth on this article and the 10 skills we can improve in. Thank you very much

  16. These are so important! Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, George Guzzardo, Claude Hamilton, Bill Lewis, Dan Hawkins, Wayne MacNamara, and Tim Marks have such great blogs! I love the information being taught in the LIFE business. Thank you!

  17. Bob Rasmussen said

    Spot on topic Orrin! Looking forward to how you dissect these 10 soft skills. I am made aware as I go out in the world and interact with those who have “position” in society in some shape or form that people are largely unaware that these are the real skills of leadership. I know these areas are a constant in my personal growth arena that I need to address daily. Can’t wait for your wisdom on theses topics. God Bless,Bob

  18. Chad Waters said

    Awesome Blog and topic Orrin!

    I look forward to more on each and every step! It reminds me of the LLR book you wrote on the 5 levels of leadership! This should help me close down my Round Table goal for March!
    Thanks so much and await each topic being covered!

  19. Eben Smith said

    I cannot wait until you break down these skills. So I can increase my leadership development.

  20. Clint Fix said

    Thanks for sharing! I’m excited to see your future articles on each one of the skills.

  21. Josh Sparks said

    Orrin, this is a great list and I am looking forward to your future blogs breaking each of these down. These are definitely difference makers. Thanks, Josh.

  22. Wendi Witkowski said

    What a great resource to learn leadership skills that can be applied to any area of life.

  23. Nancy Pope said

    I’m looking forward to learning the basics to improve in each of these areas to give me the skills to lead thousands to truth. Thank you Orrin for your wisdom

  24. Adam Gonzales said

    Phenomenal post.
    The principles of leadership broken down so clearly anyone can choose to follow them.
    1 Million Changed lives here we come!!!

  25. Bill Eder said

    Orrin; Excellent as always. We all need to polish up these soft skills.
    Thanks for your servant leadership.

  26. Scott Staley said

    Great blog Orrin. I’m very much looking forward to your insight and perspective on how to improve in the 10 areas! Thanks for everything you do.

  27. It would make for a very effective year if any leader would commit, in 30 day segments, to improving in each of these skills. What comes in the LLR subscriptions and the Mental Fitness Challenge supports each of these in a very dynamic way. Sounds like a good plan to put in place. Thanks Orrin!

  28. Mike Schwendinger said

    Great topic Orrin,

    Leadership takes time. Positional management isn’t necessarily leadership. Not to discount the accomplishments of those who have learned these 10 soft skills, worked toward mastering them, and in turn achieved the position they deserve by serving their teams. Living a culture of leadership with the LIFE organization and having the venue to fail my way to success in these 10 soft skills is an opportunity I cherish.

    Thank you for providing the way for those of us who humbly believe that we are destined to make a difference in the world.

    Your brother in Christ,


  29. AWESOME! Can’t wait to learn more about each of the 10!

  30. Hilary Dorr said

    Emotional Intelligence is a hard one! Thank you for giving us the tools to learn how to have a higher emotional intelligence quotient!

  31. John Lewis said

    Thanks Orrin. I can relate to each one of these and look forward to hearing your thoughts as you expand on them.

  32. Jim Wilson said

    Thanks,Orrin. I need a lot of help in those aras.
    Jim Wilson

  33. Jeff Quick said

    It’s funny how God sends things to you exactly when you need to hear them. These sure are gonna come in handy. I can’t wait to develop these soft skills in my life so people won’t think I’m so hard, so that the outside will look more like what’s on the inside. Thanks Orrin, for being true to what God has called you to do.

  34. Joseph Simon said

    Orrin –
    These 10 principles laid out continues to draw the bridge between LIFE and the “outside” world. This bridge helps us to relate to more people so we can keep the train moving to 1 million people and beyond.
    Keep it coming!!
    God Bless

  35. Wes smith said

    That’s great! Everyday I’m more convinced that what we do is right!

  36. Jessica Dehn said

    Thank you Orrin and the PC for all the leadership training that I have received when I didn’t even know that I was looking for it! I can think of no place else where a person can grow in all areas of their life for such a low monetary cost. I can definitely see a use for these ten soft skills outside of business, and that is one of the things I love about this information. Looking forward to Leadershift in April!

  37. Looking forward to the coming weeks Orrin. I have a lot of work to do in these areas! Thanks for continually stretching us to become better. God Bless!

  38. Still growing. Looking forward to the upcoming posts.

  39. Chris Olson said

    Thank you for your continuing insight. I get a lot out of all your posts. I personally had to step back from LIFE due to lack of funds, but continue to promote LIFE every chance I get. you can see this through my twitter,fb and typepad posts.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Chris, just keep reading and listening and apply the financial principles to help get you on a upward financial path. thanks, Orrin

  40. Alan Clements said

    I can’t wait to hear your insight on these 10 topics!I enjoy learning from someone who has the results I would like to have! I am working with Kirk and Nicole Porter and I see by their example that the material you teach produces those results. I am ready to dig into the info and begin improving in these 10 areas!
    Thanks for all you do!

  41. Tina Abernathy said

    Excellent article Orrin!

    I look forward to learning more in the upcoming articles on how to take my leadership to the next level through mastering these 10 principles. The world is primed and ready for the next generation of leaders and the Abernathy’s will play our part in creating a new legacy.


  42. Justin Stevens said

    Never thought I’d fall in love with learning, especially about leadership. LIFE has done that for me plus so much more

  43. Orrin,

    I love these skills. So necessary for success in any endeavor.

  44. Anthony longlois said

    Your teachings are always spot on and so helpful. What is being taught transcends into all spheres of influence, from the ditch digger to the high level executive.

  45. It’s amazing to see how much of an impact you can make on others when you focus on leadership. The upcoming blogs will be fantastic—- I’m specifically looking at resiliency as our country is needing to learn how to respond to tough times! Let’s show them Orrin!!!

  46. Josh Dames said

    Can’t wait to for your up coming articles Orrin!!! Thx for all you do!!

  47. Rick Green said

    I have found that when specific skills are broken down for detailed examination, I learn and develop those skills faster and with more effectiveness. For that reason, I am looking forward to your upcoming analysis of each of these. Thanks for everything that you do.

  48. Jason Dames said

    Great post Orrin!!!

  49. J & P Harteis said

    Thanks, once again Orrin! Wish these were taught in school! Hopefully, we will be able to play “catch up” & teach them to our children & grandkids! Example will be the best way!

  50. Kelly E. Hill said

    Mr. Orrin, because of The LIFE biz, I am a better husband, father and follower of Christ. Thank you for ALL you do for us. God bless you.
    Kelly Hill

  51. Alison Ruhlman said

    I am going to love this challenge of the soft skills!!! (These soft skills listed sound hard!!! But, if it is a skill then I can learn it and I can’t wait to challenge myself!!!)

  52. CC Achilefu said


    Your level of mastery in the areas of leadership and servanthood blows me away. You seem to be able to teach on these two topics with such ease. Thank you for putting in all the hard work of growing yourself and staying committed to process throughout the years. Many have and millions more will greatly benefit from your leadership legacy. Thank you for this article. I eagerly await the future articles breaking down these 10 soft skills.

    Many blessings,


  53. Adam Powell said

    Great post Orrin! I can’t wait to hear more details on all 10 soft skills!!

  54. AWESOME! Can’t wait to learn more about these skills!

  55. Christie said

    How great is to know that we are apart of such a great organization that is creating a culture where as you work on ourselves we are changing the environment around us. Thank you life and team!

  56. Dean Strube said

    As always you are a step ahead, Looking forward to continual learning and improvement.
    I thank God for Life and Team daily!!

  57. Anthony Nieto said

    That is clear cut and to the point of leading. Thank you for the post because it wouldn’t be important if you didn’t post it. 🙂

  58. Kim Decker said

    Great post

  59. Jim Martin said

    We all have them inside us, but I know I can use them more. Soft skills that is 🙂


  60. MARIO VEGA said


  61. Great post Orrin thank you.

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