All things being equal i.e. degree, years of experience and skill set, what differentiates one employee from the other is their interpersonal skills. The ability to deal with the various people at different positions can be the make or break factor in your success as an employee or an entrepreneur. Here’s a list of 3 factors that can help you create a positive impact in dealing with your colleagues, employees and bosses.
- Developing your social skills
When we start our careers, most of us our focussed on giving our best to the company and be known for our technical skills and know how. The only thing that matters is to do the job well and be recognised for it. As the years of experience add up, it’s quite natural to reach a stage when our skills are matched by those around us and the competition becomes tougher. This may result in your growth being stagnated or you being overlooked for important roles. Single minded focus on gaining technical knowledge and performing at the top often leads to you having zero work life balance.
In order to differentiate yourself from the others, having good interpersonal skills is vital. Being a team player is not the same as winning a popularity contest. It’s not about being the “yes” boss kind of person either. It’s about becoming the kind of person who can get along with anyone in order to get the job done. In order to stay relevant, we have to be professionals who build one on one relationships with our bosses, colleagues and clients. Developing social skills should be on your list. To see how you fair on it currently, ask yourself these questions and start working on the areas that are lacking.
– I know the name of all the people on your floor
– I share personal information and discuss topics of interest with my co-workers
– I have lunch with cowrokers at least a few times in a week
– I see building relationships as equally important as accomplishing my job
- Being a good listener
Think of who you would go to if you ever needed any advice. Chances are the person you thought of is really not so great at giving advice, what they are good at is giving you an ear.
Being a good listener is a virtue that not many of us possess. Develop this skill, if you really want to grow not only as a professional, but also as a human being. Active listening is the most important thing to practice when you want to build and maintain relationships. When you drop your judgements and inhibitions in dealing with the other person, you become more approachable and likable. Often if someone shares their personal problems with co-workers, they are judged as weak or complaining. Instead we need to make an effort to understand the other person and show more compassion, if we are to become good leaders.
Few pointers to improve your listening skills
– Paraphrasing – Repeat what you have just been told to make sure you have understood correctly what the other person means.
– Ask relevant questions – Don’t just ask any question, ask something meaningful that encourages the other person to share more
– Pay attention – Asking a person how they are doing and not paying attention the the answer is rude and pointless. Be present and try to decipher the feelings behind the words being spoken
- Building mutually beneficial relationships
Part of building successful relationships at work involves identifying the quid pro quo between you and everyone else, and working to assure that everyone’s needs (including your own) are met. This does not mean that we look at each interaction as a trade, and manipulate it. You have to come from a place of generosity. A client once got a job reference because he had once helped a co-worker order some sweets for a function! It can be something very small, but may mean a lot to the person. Building relationships is an ongoing process. It’s often said that once you need a relationship, it’s too late to build it. It’s important to have a long range perspective when dealing with people and valuing them as individuals, not just as talent or resource. Few tips to build healthy relationships are:
– Interact with everyone equally, regardless of their position
– Remember birthdays and anniversaries
– Do favours for people who need it, even if you don’t see any immediate returns
Start applying these practices at your business, office and even home, and experience the difference in your growth and career. If you feel like sharing your own experiences and struggles and need support, then write to me. Feel free to comment and share this with someone who needs it.
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