People skills in the workplace are often overlooked in favor of more technical skills. But, to be successful in any environment, you need to have people skills. Many employers require their employees to have people or soft skills, especially in customer service, retail, and hospitality. And yet, having the skills to deal with people effectively is handy no matter where you work.
When it comes to human resources, people skills are the number one requirement. It makes sense, since you are dealing with the people part of an organization and must manage people one on one and in groups.
There is no doubt that developing people’s skills is essential for career success. Not only do they make the workplace more enjoyable, but they also help you get ahead. It's not only about being a nice person or having a warm personality. The skills that help you manage your colleagues and work environment are precious. Every organization must focus on how to improve people's skills
in the workplace.
“It's not just about the hard skills that workers need, it's the soft skills.”
- Vanessa Tierney, CEO at Abodoo
Here’s a list of a few of the skills to improve on at work and that everyone must develop.
Being a Better Listener
There is no such thing as a perfect listener. It's important to understand that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses in listening and dealing with people in general. To become a better listener at work, you should actively focus on what your co-workers are saying and not just wait for them to finish before you speak again. You also need to give your full attention when they are speaking and avoid getting distracted by your phone or anything else that’s going on around you. Here are some quick tips you can put to use today:
Make eye contact with the speaker
Avoid interrupting the speaker
Use "I" statements
Refrain from judgments
Ask questions to clarify the speaker's meaning
Summarize what you understand from the speaker
Being a good listener is one of the most practical people management skills. When you demonstrate that you don’t just hear people’s responses but have a relevant response in the form of feedback, constructive criticism, or even acknowledgment, it can do wonders for your career arc.
Showing More Enthusiasm in Sharing Interests with Your Colleagues
It can be challenging to start a conversation with your coworkers. This is especially true if you are new or do not spend much time outside of work with them. But that is all the more reason to ask questions, get clarity on the work process, and be an effective team member.
One of the most proven ways to connect with someone is to genuinely listen to them talk about their interests. It is also an instant ice-breaker. It’s essential to show your colleagues that you are attentive to what they say. This is how you can do it:
Ask your colleagues about their interests and hobbies
Try to find common interests you share
Smile when you talk about their interests
Ask them more questions about how they got into what they like, whom they learned it from and how they maintain their interests.
It is very easy to show enthusiasm when sharing interests with your colleagues. Some people think that the best way to break the ice is by asking a question. But, if you want to start a productive conversation, it may be more beneficial to ask a lighthearted question instead.
It could be as simple as asking them what they are reading, listening to, or who they follow on social media. Talk about your interests and share some of the things you like doing outside of work. Building conversations in this manner is a simple way to improve people’s skills at work.
Asking for Feedback from Your Co-workers
The ability to ask for feedback from your coworkers is one of the most of the many good people skills to have to succeed in your career. It’s one of the most underrated people skills. When you ask for feedback, you acknowledge that you have much to learn and that your coworkers have much to teach you. It’s a valued trait that can instantly boost your professional reputation.
An excellent way to ask for feedback is to have a specific question in mind, such as “What do you think I could do better?” or “What can I do differently that would make your job easier?”. These questions will focus on the feedback you get and provide you with specific information on how to improve your skills.
The best way to ask for feedback is to ask! You can prepare questions ahead of time or come up with them on the fly. Ask coworkers individually if they have time or create a meeting with them.
Identifying Appropriate Topics of Conversation
One of the ways to engage your coworkers and improve people skills is to lead interesting conversations. However, the topics you choose should be appropriate for the work setting and enhance your workplace discussions.
There are many ways to use your creativity to generate conversation starters. For example, you can use a poll for a group, do a "show of hands," or ask an open-ended question such as "What is the most important thing in your life?"
You must be able to identify appropriate topics of conversation, but it is also important to know what to avoid. You want to make sure that you’re not talking about sensitive subjects and making people feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. Some don’ts include:
Avoiding sensitive and personal topics
Avoiding confrontations over political topics
Avoiding gossip or sharing confidential information
Sticking to ‘safe’ topics like current affairs, popular culture, interests, lifestyle and wellness topics
Actively Listen During Meetings
Being an active listener during meetings starts way before the meeting. Knowing the agenda of the meeting and the goals of those attending is an important start. Active listening is different from just sitting and waiting for someone to talk, it involves paying attention and responding with body language cues. It is also one of the most handy work skills to improve on if you are looking to build leadership qualities.
Some good ways to actively listen are: repeating what the speaker said in your own words, asking clarifying questions, giving feedback on the speaker’s opinions or ideas.
In a Nutshell
An organization with powerful people skills is a force to reckon with. Businesses are based on interpersonal relationships
shared across teams, divisions, vendors, and stakeholders. The skills mentioned above are just some of the work skills that need to be improved, and they can be improved with just a little practice and training. Whether you are an employer or an employee, managing people is a valuable ability. It is what defines the relationships you have with your colleagues and leaders.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some tasks where people need to have strong people skills?
If you’re in a customer-facing industry, then answering the phone, helping customers find what they need, and talking with coworkers are just some of the daily tasks that will require you to have effective people management skills.
Does a person's personality affect how well they perform in a job that requires strong people skills?
Strong people skills are required in many jobs. However, many people have shy personalities and feel uncomfortable speaking to others. Personalities do not affect how well a person performs in a job but developing people’s skills can ensure a growing career.
What are some of the most important skills people have in their jobs?
Some of the most important skills to improve at work are working well with others, staying calm under pressure, and the ability to think quickly.