Think back to a job you held that meant the most to you. This is the position where you remember the role and the people fondly. This is the job you made some of your significant achievements and long-lasting connections. This is probably the job where the work didn't feel like work.
In this job, your direct manager or leadership of that company did a lot to make you feel special. You felt valued. You felt like your contributions were appreciated. Did management:
- have "water cooler" conversations or non-work related chats with you?
- pay attention? They sensed when you weren't having a good day or you were feeling down for some reason.
- take time to explain a new procedure, new software, or changes within the organization?
- seem like the noticed everything, that they knew all the nuances within the office?
- provide swift action on situations that were causing workplace conflict?
If you answered yes to 90% of these questions, your manager had excellent people skills.
People Skills, also termed soft skills, are:
- Listening, active
- Empathy, knowing when and how
Knowledge and know-how are extremely important skills to have for your specific role within a company. But the skills that make the biggest difference in positive employee engagement, high employee performance, low employee turnover, and a great relationship with long-term customers are people skills.
Unlike what you may think, people skills aren't driven by personality. People skills can be taught and nurtured. People skills require a long-term dedication, commitment and awareness.
How are your people skills? Take stock. Ask a co-worker, a direct report and a client. Be open to the feedback. Where there is room for improvement (there always is), hire a coach to assist in your people skills development.
Don't let people skills, or the lack thereof, keep you from attaining the career success you desire.