Conflicts at work? Trouble saying no? Hone your "harder skills."

Our own Amy Potthast was published in the latest issue of OnlyUp, a bimonthly online journal about issues facing young nonprofit employees.

Her article, Seven “Harder” Skills That Will Help You Grow as a Leader, begins:

In a recent Opinionator blog post from the New York Times, Gerald Chertavian—founder of Year Up, a fellowship program in the business sector—distinguishes between hard skills and “harder skills.”

“The merely hard skills are things that many training programs cover—for IT, it might be using software applications or installing hardware. The harder skills are more nuanced. They involve questions like: Do you know how to communicate in a team?…If you don’t have enough work, do you know to be proactive and ask for more?”

I agree. The nuanced people skills are so much harder—some take courage (like asserting yourself or effectively handling conflict); others take wisdom (like saying no gracefully, and leading others). All of them are essential for developing yourself as a leader—and will help your employer see you as a leader.

Here are seven valuable “harder skills” to pay attention to:

For the seven skills and how to hone ‘em, visit


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