Most companies will quickly settle for a people person than that subject matter expert who finds it difficult to collaborate with others. Regardless of your technical expertise, if you cannot work well with others, advancing in your career will be an uphill battle.
Consider improving your interpersonal, active listening, nonverbal communication, and self-discipline skills for a thriving career. These skills will do a fantastic job of enhancing your productivity and innovation. Every single job demands them; most recruiters today are looking for professionals with soft skills. The good thing about such skills is that you can take them along with you to every job. They aren’t hard skills like for instance technical skills that are primarily job-specific or focused.
Always vying for the first and last word or eagerly planning to speak while your colleagues do, is a sign of impatience, disrespect, and unprofessionalism. The rule of thumb is, ‘listen attentively,’ ‘speak later.’ This prevents the possibility of misunderstanding; it demonstrates your interest in what you are being told. When your co-worker is sharing an idea with you, put your phone down, practice mindful listening, and engage them through direct eye contact. Only speak when they are done making their point. In some cases, paraphrase their points to let them know and confirm that you are both on the same page. Start making active listening a priority; it will strengthen your empathy and understanding of issues.
While speaking clearly, and concisely are critical to being an excellent communicator, always be mindful of your body language—they speak louder than your words. Have a positive attitude and be polite during in-person interactions at work. Pay specific attention to your posture, eye-contact, facial expressions, and hand gestures when you speak to other team members. Browsing through your phone while a co-work speaks to you, or rolling your eyes, will come across as being disrespectful.
To work or interact effectively with co-workers, you ought to have excellent interpersonal skills. These skills will make you a good communicator, which, in turn, helps you build and sustain mutual respect and strong rapport with other team members. With exceptional interpersonal skills, you often come off as being an approachable, relatable person. This instantly launches you into an informal leadership role where your colleagues become comfortable sharing their ideas or worries with you, knowing that they can count on your advice. Your colleagues become confident about your interest in their wellbeing, which fosters trust and loyalty.
Effective time and task management skills will help you achieve your goals. Train yourself to plan, itemize your tasks, and set realistic, achievable deadlines.
The bottom line is that boosting your soft skills now will set you up for professional growth.