Networking and Building Relationships (Part 2)
Soft skills to advance your career
Soft skills to advance your career
This article is part of a series of useful tips to help you find success within your company. While technical skills get us hired for our preferred post, soft skills help us communicate and collaborate effectively in the workplace. Soft skills such as knowing how to get along with other people play a major role not just in our careers, but also in our ability to navigate through our daily lives.
Focus more on being genuinely interested in other people rather than trying really hard to get other people interested in you. It makes a huge difference when people actually enjoy being around you, especially if it’s your first few days in the office. A team operates best when everyone around you knows each other. Developing soft skills such as learning the strengths and weaknesses of your co-workers can make the whole team work effectively and efficiently since the team can take advantage of each member’s unique abilities. Knowing who to speak to for guidance and assistance in certain aspects of your job will help you get through your tasks smoothly. So get to know as many people in your company as you can and start building genuine, professional relationships with them.
Showing interest and taking the time to get to know other people lead to making new friends and building camaraderie in the workplace. The outcome is a team that works well and with all members communicating in an open, honest and respectful manner. Moreover, team members will feel a strong sense of belonging to the group, which further leads to a deep commitment to the group’s actions and decisions.
Every day is an opportunity to get to meet new people, so always greet your co-workers with vigor and enthusiasm.
Personal appearance matters when you interact with your new colleagues. It’s the first thing that they notice about you. How you carry yourself through your attitude, posture and body language is very important because it’s the first point of contact. Remember that action speaks louder than words.
Before you greet others, remind yourself to smile. Avoid negative thinking that will affect your attitude towards talking to others. People can detect a bad attitude just by looking at a person’s facial expression or hearing the tone of their voice. If this is the case, you can negatively affect their mood, which can ruin their day. That is why smiling when conversing is very important when you’re trying to make a good impression on someone in the company.
Smiling communicates that you are glad to see the person. Action and feelings go together, so even if you’re not in the mood to smile, doing so anyway will tend to make you happy. Others will thank you for that, as a simple smile can be contagious. It makes other people happy and give them a pleasant time meeting and talking to you.
One of the most important soft skills to bring to the workplace is the ability to listen. Often, we become very concerned about what we want to say next that we don’t take the time to truly listen to the speaker. A bad listener will find it difficult to build relationships with his or her colleagues. So be a good listener, particularly when you are a new recruit to the company. You will spend a lot of time learning everything about your role from others.
Along the way, you will be introduced to many employees working in various departments of the firm, including yours. If you are new to virtually all processes and procedures, one of the best ways to learn is to listen to and watch your senior colleagues train you. They come from years of experience, so it’s best to listen intently and carefully. Your first few weeks will include new instructions and information. The last thing you want to happen is to miss any crucial details, which can potentially sabotage your performance in the company.
When you show sincere interest in what the other person is saying, they, too, will find you interesting. Encourage them to talk more about themselves, especially their accomplishments, and they will find you a great conversationalist. Everyone has much to say about themselves, but often, there aren’t too many people out there who are patient and sympathetic listeners. So be the person to make the other person feel heard and they will surely thank you for it.
Active listening requires your full attention to the speaker. It involves genuine and obvious signs like making eye contact, nodding your head in agreement with someone and asking questions for further clarification. You must concentrate on, engage in, and absorb what the other person is saying to you. Developing this valuable skill will help you reap benefits as stated below:
Respect and Trust
You earn the respect and trust of your colleagues because you show that you are supportive and understanding. If there are personal or work-related issues, they will be mitigated as each member becomes self-assured and comfortable in working out a solution with each other.
Understand Issues Clearly and Formulate the Best Solutions
With a better understanding of the issues in the company or of your peers, you can formulate an accurate and optimal solution. In a meeting, it’s easy for anyone to miss out on information when they let their mind wander. When you’re asked to come up with a solution, you may offer a wrong or useless one, because of gaps in your knowledge. A situation like this can endanger your professional image and ability. You won’t come across as someone who works efficiently and who has a sharp intellect.
One of the best ways to develop a healthy professional relationship within the company is making others feel that they belong to the group. Specifically, make them feel important by giving them approval and recognition for their work.
Always find something nice to say about a person. You are essentially highlighting their best qualities. There are plenty of good things to say about a person, but sadly, we don’t do it quite enough. Saying good things about a person helps motivate them to continue doing what they’re good at. It will even encourage them to work on their weaknesses. This is because they know that good work and sincere effort are being recognized.
Our colleagues sometimes can experience a bad day when they think that the boss is not aware of their hard work. But someone who works beside them every day clearly knows how much effort and time are being invested into a given task or project. You can be that person to instantly cheer up your co-worker with low morale by showing him appreciation.
Everyone you work with can affect your career. They can help make you more knowledgeable and skillful in your job and help you advance in your career. Just being surrounded by intelligent and diligent people is both inspiring and influential. They will surely influence the way you act and think. Your company believes in you after all; that’s why they gave you the opportunity to work with them. So be thankful, and when the right time comes, let the people you know how important they are to you. Many employees also often forget other relevant soft skills like meeting your mentors regularly and seeking constructive feedback.
Companies also make the mistake of undervaluing the importance of soft skills and failing to improve them. They need to realize that developing a more productive workforce and achieving success in the workplace result from strengthening both technical skills and soft skills.