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Soft leadership: a new direction to leadership

M.S. Rao (Founder, MSR Leadership Consultants India)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 12 April 2013



The purpose of this paper is to explore a new leadership style – “soft leadership” – which is needed in a interconnected, global, and technocratic world.


This paper is a combination of research into a new leadership style with a question and answer session during an International Leadership Association (ILA) webinar.


The paper discovers how the soft leaders adopt tools such as influence, persuasion, negotiation, appreciation, motivation, and collaboration for the collective good. It explains how soft leadership is different from other leadership styles. It describes the significance of soft leadership and differentiates between soft and hard leadership through examples. It substantiates with Dave Ulrich's Leadership Code. It provides the questions posed by participants during the webinar organized by International Leadership Association (ILA) with answers. It calls upon readers to consider how leadership insights acquired from this manuscript may be applied individually and organizationally to make a difference in the lives of others.


The 11 C's that collectively constitute soft leadership is a unique concept. Globally renowned management guru, Dave Ulrich mapped 11 C's into a leadership code on the author's request which added value to this new concept. Participation of international leadership experts and their questions during the ILA webinar with the author's spontaneous answers further enriched this concept.



Rao, M.S. (2013), "Soft leadership: a new direction to leadership", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 45 No. 3, pp. 143-149.



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