The Soft Skills You Can Develop By Earning an EdD

Soft skills are important in any job. A doctorate in education is a great way to develop a variety of soft skills that you can apply regardless of what you decide to use your degree for. Many of the skills listed below can be learned and improved by volunteering or becoming more proactive at your current job. The more you practice soft skills and work with other people, the better you will get at them.

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Below, we take a look at a few of the soft skills you can develop. As you work your way through your degree, there will be even more skills that you can learn.

Effective Communication

Communication seems like something that is so simple and basic on the surface – however, there is a huge difference between basic communication skills and effective communication when managing projects and people.

Developing communication skills takes time and is far more involved than just learning how to talk to others. A lot of communication is done in writing. People communicated more in conversation before the advent of modern technology in the workplace. Texts, email and workplace platforms such as Slack and Airtable are often used now. Google Meet and Zoom are popular methods of video chatting and conferencing with clients and members of your team.

Learning to speak clearly and effectively to a group requires practice. There are classes and groups you can utilize to help you practice, but working with others on group projects and presentations goes a long way when it comes to honing your skills and abilities.

Determination And Hard Work

It takes determination and hard work to get results in the world of education. No two students are exactly the same. Learning certain things is easier for some students than others. Finding ways to make it possible for all students to have access to what they need to get a great education and succeed requires working through challenges on a daily basis.

Empathy And Friendliness

If you want to work in education, especially as a leader, then you need to have empathy and be friendly and approachable. Naturally empathetic people are easier for others to relate to and learn to trust. Being able to form a great connection with others as quickly as possible is an advantage when working in any educational field.

Being approachable means that others are more likely to come to you when necessary. You do not want to be someone who others actively avoid if they find out that they have to work with you on projects. Also, students and parents need to feel comfortable about coming to you with any problems they might have and being confident that you will work hard to help them and find solutions.

Building Morale in the Workplace

When there is good morale in the workplace, people do a better job and care more about the results. Keeping up the morale of others can be challenging during tough times, but it is an invaluable skill to have. Higher morale also results in better employee retention rates. Holding on to employees is considerably more important than many people realize in today’s challenging job market. There are far more positions open than qualified people to fill them in a lot of occupational areas.

When it comes to education, it can take time to recruit and train qualified staff, especially if you need people with very specific skill sets or areas of expertise.

Offering good support and mentorship to new or junior-level employees is a great way to make them feel appreciated and comfortable working on your team.

Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflict is part of life. It is important to learn how to approach conflict in a healthy and effective way. Avoiding conflict often results in bigger problems later, and it may not be possible to fix them if they are continuously ignored.

In education, you will experience conflicting situations with colleagues, students, parents, etc. Being able to stay calm at all times, even if there are some heated moments, is absolutely essential. As a professional in education, it is your duty to be the calm party and to work toward a solution that everyone can agree to even if it is not ideal for them to do so.

Giving each side of a conflict time to express themselves is important because it shows that regardless of which side you think is right, you still value their opinion and intelligence. This shows that you are attempting to work through a problem in a logical manner and consider the entire picture.

Listing the positives and negatives of each possible decision and likely outcome can help people come up with resolutions that have the greatest odds of offering an acceptable solution for all.

Leadership And Decision-making

Being able to take charge and lead a team is a valuable skill to have. A good leader heading a project or supervising employees can make all the difference regardless of what the job or project might be. While there are some people who seem like natural leaders, they likely still had to hone their skills through experience and education.

Good decision-making and processes are important. Making decisions too quickly can result in sloppy results that are hard or impossible to fix later. Learning how to approach decisions in a logical manner while allowing adequate time for research is something that you will learn as you attain increasingly higher managerial and leadership roles.

Asking the right questions before a decision leads to better results and means that you have the information needed to do your job well.


Teamwork is essential in the modern workplace. Teamwork leads to tasks getting done more quickly without compromising the quality of the final product. Being able to work well with people from many different backgrounds is a major advantage.

It is possible to gain the skills and competence needed to take on a leadership role by working as part of a team. In the world of education, committee projects, boards and more are all great examples of many people working together on projects that lead to decisions affecting a lot of people.

Teamwork also leads to more creativity and innovation in the workplace. Listening to the ideas and thoughts of others can spur your own ideas and vice versa. Often, great innovation comes from people working together for extended periods of time and learning to ask each other questions to get the full range of their opinions and thought processes.

Knowing how to put a good team together is a higher-level teamwork skill. This involves knowing each person’s strengths and weaknesses and putting them in roles where they can use their strengths and ideally work on the skills that they would benefit from improving.

Cultural Competence

Society is becoming more diverse, and it is important to have a high level of cultural competence. This means being aware of different cultures, religions, customs and communities, especially in the area or region in which you plan on working.

Learning about the challenges and issues that different groups face can help you to have a better understanding of them and do your job better.

Volunteering in diverse communities and with groups that reach out to different demographics than you are used to being around is a great way to improve your cultural competence and help others at the same time. There are many volunteer opportunities suitable for someone who is seeking a leadership position within any area of education.

Project Management

Short- and long-term project management is not always as easy as some people make it look. Great organizational skills and attention to detail lead to great results. Learning how to plan a series of small steps and milestones that lead to the goal will make success more likely. Planning projects that feature unrealistic or overly ambitious timelines and goals can be self-defeating in nature.

When goals are set too high initially and milestones are not reached, it can feel as though the overall goal is impossible. This can lead to people not trying so hard, which is the last thing you want. Setting small, realistic steps and celebrating with positive feedback when they are reached is important and will make you a better leader who gains a higher level of respect from anyone you are working with.


Knowing how to tackle complex problems and work with others to find reasonable and innovative solutions is a skill that you must have to succeed at an executive level. For example, in secondary education, where many education graduates find themselves working, there are problems that arise with each class and school year.

At the university level, there are very high standards that must be met. When there is a problem, it needs to be resolved quickly. Knowing how to approach sensitive issues and show respect to everyone involved is part of the job.


A manager or executive is expected to stay very well organized. Making sure that you keep track of projects and prioritize your time well is essential to job success.

Gaining a doctorate in education can help you learn to organize projects and prioritize while maintaining a good work-life balance. When managers and leaders are organized, it sets a good example for others and helps prevent mistakes and misunderstandings that influence everyone involved in a project or group.


Educational leaders must be self-aware. They need to be able to accept their own faults and strengths and use them to the best of their abilities. Knowing your weaknesses allows you to get help from others who are strong performers in that area. Working with others can allow you to learn and improve on your weaknesses while helping others to learn from your strengths.

You need to be honest when you make a mistake and completely acknowledge it to your team, while telling and showing them what you are doing to correct it. When everyone acknowledges their failings, they can learn from them. You never want people to be afraid to speak up or allow others to take the blame for an error. This type of behavior reflects poorly on morale and can undermine your leadership at any job. Remember that trust is hard to gain back once it is broken, and if you do it often, it may be nearly impossible.

Ethical Leadership

There are leaders, and then there are the leaders who try to consider the most ethical way to do what they need to do to help their organizations or institutions thrive. During the course of earning your degree, you will explore what it means to be an ethical manager and leader in the modern world.

Learning how to approach decision-making and teamwork from the most ethical perspective is important as you will be advocating and working with people from many different backgrounds in practically any job.

Being empathetic and willing to learn about the dilemmas and challenges of others is important in the ethical decision-making process. This includes trying to understand the values and current mindset of those in your community and region as a whole. Staying in touch with what is going on around you will help in the ethical decision-making process.

Educational Leaders Are in Demand

There are many reasons why educational leaders are in demand. For starters, there are a lot of experienced people reaching retirement age, leaving many positions open for those who have the necessary education, experience, determination and love of learning that being an education leader requires.

Gaining a Doctorate in Education Opens Up Career Options

While plenty of education graduates work in the school or university system, there are many other career options out there. Business executive positions are best served by those who have the skills of an educational leader. Knowing how to work well with others, manage a team, and make fast yet logical decisions can help take a company to the top of its niche.

Is Education the Right Career for You?

If you are the type of person who loves to work with others and enjoys teaching, then education may be the right career choice for you. If you are unsure of what you want to do with an education doctorate, then that is fine because there are so many options open to you.

Teachers And Educators Should Consider Advanced Degrees

If you are currently working in any area of education, you should consider where you want your career to go. If you love teaching, you can earn more and take on more advanced positions if you gain an additional degree. You’ll also qualify to teach at the college and university level if this is something that is appealing to you at any point.

Gaining the highest-level degree in your field can set you ahead of any competition you may have for the positions you desire the most.

The benefits of earning an EdD from Spalding University include earning your degree at a pace and to a schedule that works best for you while you maintain your current job. Spalding University’s online Doctorate of Education in Leadership prepares you for ethical and people-centered leadership roles in education, business and more. In just two years, you can earn your doctorate and take your career to the next level, whether that is working within school education or for non-profit organizations. Students can use their skills to exercise creative and innovative change and research methodology with good research methods.

Success in the Career

Gaining soft skills is important for success in any field. Attaining your EdD degree is a great way to advance your career and break into a job that allows you to work with others toward the greater good.

Soft skills are something that you can work toward in many ways, from volunteering to taking extra classes, workshops or groups dedicated to a specific skill set.

Learning to work with others in a team setting while staying organized and communicating well are some of the major characteristics of a strong leader and manager.