Are you standing in the way of your career?
In this day and age, a lot of focus is placed on the qualifications one has, and as such most employees and potential employees focus on getting the right papers, and good grades while at it. In Uganda, getting a job without the required papers is close to impossible, and so there is a belief that going to university or getting certified in a particular field is a game changer. And that may be true, but that is not the end of the story.
Getting a job at an organization or working with other people requires certain people skills for it to be considered a success, and influence growth in your career. You might be wondering why people that you outperformed in school or are less qualified have gone further than you have, or why your career is stagnant. One of the answers to that question lies in the people skills (soft skills) that you exhibit while performing your job.
People skills are those skills that make it possible to work in teams, share ideas, build relationships and complete tasks with others (basically, skills that make it possible for you to do your job and do it well). Fortunately, or unfortunately, there is no real formula to learning people skills, but below are some of the ways to improve on your people skills;
- Attitude: Your attitude, whether positive or negative affects those around you. A negative attitude portrayed through poor people skills can lead to negative reactions thus causing a hostile working environment. If people are uncomfortable working with you, it might not matter how qualified you are for the job.
- Make a connection: Getting to know people on a more personal level affects how we treat and react towards them. This makes us understanding, patient and kind towards them which taps into the better side of our people skills.
- Listening instead of hearing: Communication is bound to be ineffective if what is being put across is not. Listening to someone, without interrupting or dreaming off improves effective communication, which gives clearer understanding of the message. This also comes in handy during conflict resolution as opposed to simply storming away, and making an even bigger mess of the situation.
- Be clear: If you are communicating to someone, make sure the message is direct. This avoids situations of ‘you never told me’, ‘when did you say that?’ or ‘he said, she said’, and the impact they have on the delivery on an assignment in an organization. Always keep in mind that the message you are passing on is for the other person, and should therefore be in terms that they understand with no room for miscommunication.
- Emotional intelligence: Understanding that human beings are emotional creatures, how to deal with it in the workplace and that you are prone to emotional communication helps you relate with people better, not take it personally when they are directed at you and keep your emotions in check when possible because they send a particular message. This helps you manage communication better.
You can never have enough good people skills, and should always work on improving on them. The ReadytoWork programme has just what you need for this. Register and login to access the People skills module, and learn more.