We constantly interact with people on a daily basis. These interactions may be diverse in scope, but they all require us to manoeuvre through engagements that often determine how we lead through life. Social skills, therefore, are critical to our success in and out of the workplace. You don’t have to be bubbly or extroverted to be sociable. The skills below have worked for me over the years. I also regularly learn more about improving them.

Empathy:

My definition of empathy is, “treating people like they are people”. The first step to showing empathy is treating people with respect and dignity. For example, greeting people is a very good habit to develop both within and outside the work environment.

We think of empathy as “putting ourselves in the shoes of others”.

As a leader or manager, it includes showing interest in people beyond the work environment. For instance, develop a habit of checking how your teammates are faring personally. You should also be conscious of signs of burnout within your team.

Empathy is one of the key ways to build trust and loyalty, and when people trust you, they are more willing to do business with you or support your pursuits.

Cooperation and collaboration:

You could also call it teamwork. Be open to learning from others, and seeing things from their perspective as well. When you focus more on the people that you serve with your product, you are more likely to be more cooperative with other co-workers especially when opinions vary. Collaboration is important because you are more likely to get better results than when you work alone. Essentially this is because you are pooling your resources with those of others.

Verbal and Written Communication:

I believe in the sharing of stories.  I also think that visibility is very important for success especially with today’s technology and the internet. You have to be able to showcase your work using the various digital platforms available. Furthermore, learning how to communicate clearly is important. Moreso, with communication, practice builds confidence. So the more you speak in public, the more comfortable you become. And the same applies to writing regularly; more or less. The more visible person is more likely to be approached for work or business collaboration.

Responsibility:

It means having a sense of ownership and being accountable for your actions. Whether you are a business owner or employee, having a sense of responsibility is critical for success. This mindset influences your commitment to work.

When it comes to my job, my belief is that “my name is on the door”. This means that I know that if the work fails, I’m responsible.

So this sense of responsibility propels me to work hard and strive for success.

Leadership:

Leadership is about working through others and It combines a lot of skills (including the other social skills discussed here). Being able to organize people and processes at any level invariably equals success and the business environment will always need good managers. Moreover, effective leadership is not a talent. It can be learned like any other skill. So, the excuse of not being ” a natural-born leader” doesn’t apply as far as work is concerned.

Emotional Intelligence:

I’m alluding specifically to having a positive outlook and being congenial. If people like you, they are more biased to work with you or tell you about opportunities.

My advice would be the following:

  1. You have to be approachable.

  2. You can’t lose your temper as often as you are triggered.

  3. Avoid email wars. Just let it go, whenever you are provoked. Email tantrums are worse because they are documented for life.

Integrity:

Integrity is a value that you have to constantly practice. Again, it’s one of the key ways to build social capital. When people know that you constantly uphold the values you proclaim, they accord you the needed respect and this often translates to opportunities because they know they can count on you.

The last point is more of advice than a skill;

“Never bite the hand that feeds you. “

You can’t betray those that have lifted you up the ladder.

Finally, I hope you start applying these social skills on a daily basis in the little ways you can. I wish you courage and success.

 


Olutobi

My superpower is creative engagement; whether working as regulatory affairs professional at a pharmaceutical company or as a fashion art director. Malcolm Gladwell calls people like me, "connectors".

I try to read at least a book a month, I have a green thumb (not literally) and my favourite quote ever is " remember to play after every storm".

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