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 in your career and the totality of your life experience. 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 involved on the team knows each other well. Developing soft skills such as learning the strengths and weaknesses of your co-workers can make the whole team work more 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. 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 leads 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, including your attitude, posture, and body language, is very important because it’s the first point of contact. Remember that actions speak louder than words.
Before you greet others, remind yourself to smile. Avoid negative thinking that may affect your attitude when talking with 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 and possibly yours as well. 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 feel happy. Others will thank you for that, as a simple smile can be contagious. It makes other people feel happy and gives them a pleasant time meeting and talking with you.
One of the most important soft skills to bring to the workplace is the ability to listen. Often, we become so 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 things about your role from others.
Along the way, you will be introduced to many employees working in various departments of the firm. 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. They likely have years of experience, so it’s best to listen intently and carefully. Your first few weeks will include many 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 will tend to likewise find you interesting. Encourage them to talk 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 who makes 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. Concentrate on, engage in, and absorb what the other person is saying to you. Developing this valuable skill will help you reap numerous benefits.
Respect and Trust
You earn the respect and trust of your colleagues when 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 solutions 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 more easily 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, if your answer reveals that you haven’t been paying attention. A situation like this can endanger your professional image and ability. You won’t come across as someone who works efficiently or who has a sharp intellect.
One of the best ways to develop healthy professional relationships within the company is by 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 – that’s why they gave you the opportunity to work with them. So be thankful, and when the right time comes, let the people around you know how important they are to you. Many employees often forget other relevant soft skills such as meeting your mentors regularly and seeking constructive feedback.
Companies may 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.
Thank you for reading part 2 of CFI’s guide to networking and building relationships. To help you expand your knowledge and skills, and advance your career, CFI offers the following free resources: