Are You Succeeding Through People Skills?
In 2013, Forbes published an article The 20 People Skills You Need to Succeed at Work. If you read through the list, you most likely nodded your head in agreement. Likeability, flexibility, communication skills, leadership skills, negotiation skills all make the list. They fit the expected picture of someone who is highly effective at work.
Now for the tough question: Are you actually succeeding through these people skills today — three years later? Have you moved past the nod of affirmation and developed your people skills?
People skills is a broad category of important skills, yet colleges and universities don’t offer majors in it. It’s not an established step-by-step curriculum. Many schools don’t even offer a course focused on people skills. This puts the onus on you to succeed on your own. Are you ready to switch out of your current path and shift into people skills high gear?
Find Your Passion for People Skills
Write down how you think you will succeed through people skills. Anyone can develop great people skills if they want to. Desire makes the difference in behavioral learning. It gets you started. It keeps you going when distractions threaten to become a priority.
It’s important to know what you believe and disbelieve about the power of people skills. So ask yourself: Do you truly believe stronger people skills will help? How will they specifically help you succeed?
Where Do You Need to Start?
Start with yourself. Although we all hope others will act differently, we also know we can’t change others behavior. What is your personality type? If you don’t know, take the Keirsey Temperament Indicator online and it will provide your type. It will also explain the typical behaviors that go with your personality type.
Now think of how that description matches the positive feedback and constructive criticism you’ve had from bosses, colleagues, customers and family members. Given that comparison, where will you start?
FYI: If you are frustrated and think you are in the wrong career, look your type up in the book “Do What You Are” by Tieger & Tieger. They have studied and published what types do well and are happy in which careers. Resolving frustration about your career may be a stronger goal than strengthening your people skills right now. Address it and then refocus on succeeding through people skills.
Become Curious and Observant
Whatever your people skills goals, you will learn if you keep your goal front and center. We notice what we care about and want to learn. Notice people who do well in the people skills you want to learn. What do they do? How do they do it? Ask them how they developed that proficiency. Keep a journal of what you’re learning. And of course, practice!
Shift Into Full Learning Mode
From your observations, insights and practice, assess how far you’ve come. What more do you need to learn? Tap books, blogs, expert coaching and training to take you further.
Apply Your New Proficiency to What Challenges You Most
When you started step one, you wrote down how people skills learning will help you. It’s time to test your proficiency. It keeps the learning going.
Think of the person or situation which you have found tough to handle. What about it annoyed or challenged you? What have you learned that will address this trouble and challenge? Think it through and even role-play with a friend or colleague. Now go for it and learn from it. You’re on your way now. Ask for feedback from bosses, colleagues, and friends, and keep the learning going!
Strengthening your people skills makes you easier to work with. People will see that your occupational knowledge and skills are enhanced by your ability to work with anyone anytime.
You will excel in teamwork. You will shine in leadership. You become the go-to person in times of change because you can handle diverse situations and unforeseen happenings. That’s business and career insurance of a very special kind.
From my professional experience to your success.
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