“People Skills” for Long-Term Professional Development
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Early in your career, you may want to focus on the technical skills that will help you get promoted. These skills are certainly useful, but they're not enough to advance your entire career. You also need to focus on cultivating your interpersonal skills.
People skills are important because if the people within an organization struggle to explain themselves or understand how their coworkers feel about a given project, task, or challenge, it becomes much harder for them to work together to achieve common goals. In turn, that hurts the organization’s productivity and profitability, while also hampering things like creativity and innovation. Even though people skills are extremely important, they’re often underappreciated by employers when it comes to career development. Internal training sessions are often focused on teaching hard skills, like how to perform a specific task or use a certain piece of software. That makes it harder for employees to improve their people skills.
But just because it’s more difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Here are three ways to get started:
1) Cultivate followership on day one. To be an effective leader, you must know how to be an effective follower. To achieve any of your long-term goals, you’ll need your superiors to advocate for you, your peers to validate your ideas, and your subordinates to help you execute them. Manage up, down, and sideways.
2) Strengthen your emotional intelligence. Understand your strengths and weaknesses, as well as others’ different personalities and communication styles in the workplace. This will help you become much more nimble in social situations and have greater influence when it comes to sharing your ideas.
3) Master visual storytelling. Sixty-five percent of the population are visual learners, so work on your presentation skills. You can study companies’ presentations on their websites and emulate strategies that you find useful.
Talking to people and maintaining good interpersonal relationships helps in building harmony, trust, and mutual respect in the organization. An employee will be more transparent and open to the management when the employee expresses himself. Such individuals will make sure that they maintain the same standards of behavior that they are expecting from others. So, are you ready to develop some people skills?