Feb 122010
 

Yes, you need people skills to achieve career goals – but what are they? These seven ways to connect at work will help you get a job promotion, build better relationships with colleagues, or earn more than $75,000 a year as an entrepreneur.

No matter what your career goals are, you need people skills. You have to connect, relate, and interact.

Here’s an example of an essential people skill:

“The people with whom you work reflect your own attitude,” said author Beatrice Vincent. “If you are suspicious, unfriendly and condescending, you will find these unlovely traits echoed all about you. But if you are on your best behavior, you will bring out the best in the persons with whom you are going to spend most of your working hours.”

Your attitude has a direct, immediate impact on the people and circumstances around you – so make sure you’re emitting friendly good cheer, optimism, and the expectation of success. To increase positive energy and gain forward momentum, read Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It.





And, here are seven people skills that will help you achieve your career goals…

What People Skills Do You Need Most? 7 Ways to Connect at Work

1. Enjoy the different personality types and traits at work. Your coworkers don’t think or act the way you do – nor should they. For example, introverts aren’t always comfortable in large meetings and don’t usually like to chit chat. Extroverts love being the center of attention, and could make small talk for hours! To achieve your career goals, don’t just accept your coworkers’ personality traits…embrace them. Be curious about your colleagues, and interested in their quirks. You’ll create connections that will make you (and them) happier at work.

2. Learn how to build rapport with your colleagues and clients.Building rapport means being willing to understand and experience another person’s point of view as if you were that person. Rapport helps you become “in sync” with the people around you, which will create trust and affinity. Striving to connect with your coworkers will not only move your career forward, it’ll help you enjoy your job more. If you struggle with small talk and people skills, read Networking Tips for Introverted People – From Meetings to Marketing.

3. Get curious about your coworkers. “You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you,” said Dale Carnegie, author of How To Win Friends and Influence People. “Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one.” What do you know about your colleagues’ lives – their hobbies, interests, weekend activities, or family? Spend time getting to know them. An essential people skill is to be genuinely curious about your coworkers.

4. Check your attitude at work – make sure it’s professional and positive. Creating a better work environment starts with you (which is both good and bad news!). Do you have unreasonable expectations of your supervisor, employees, or colleagues? Are you unhappy and negative at work? Most conflicts at work and in life are two-sided, which means you could be contributing to a poor work environment in some way. If you’re serious about achieving career goals, ask your coworkers for objective feedback about your job performance and attitude.

5. Keep the intimate details of your personal life separate from your professional life. Talk about your hobbies, general family situation, career and life goals, and overall health. But even if your colleagues seem like they could become close friends, avoid getting too personal at work. If you’re in crisis at home, leave your emotions at home – or at least in your car! People skills at work is about keeping healthy boundaries.

6. Regularly re-evaluate and communicate your career goals. Every four months, reevaluate your career goals to make sure they’re still appropriate and you’re still heading in the right direction. If you’re bored, depressed or anxious at work, then your goals may be wrong for you. Don’t just visualize and write down your goals; discuss them with your colleagues, boss, and clients. Talk about your hopes and plans for the future – and encourage other people to set and achieve their career goals. Part of improving your people skills and building rapport is helping others move forward in their lives.

For more tips on people skills at work, read When Your Coworkers Complain About What You Wear to Work.

What people skills do you have…or lack? How do you connect at work? Comments welcome below…

I invite you to share your thoughts below! I read every comment, but can't offer advice or even guarantee a personal response. Don't let this stop you from sharing -- writing often brings clarity and insight, and will show other readers they're not alone.

"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." - Romans 15:13

  6 Responses to “What People Skills Do You Need Most? 7 Ways to Connect at Work”

  1. This whole section pretty much contradicts your call for recognition that some people are introverts:

    3. Get curious about your coworkers. “You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you,” said Dale Carnegie, author of How To Win Friends and Influence People. “Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one.” What do you know about your colleagues’ lives – their hobbies, interests, weekend activities, or family? Spend time getting to know them. An essential people skill is to be genuinely curious about your coworkers.

  2. Hi Alex,

    I agree — to achieve career goals, we need to stay focused. But not SO focused that we ignore the people around us! I tend not to be good at people skills…and maybe that’s why I’m not as successful as I’d like to be. I’m persistent, but I’m not good at building relationships with people.

    Thanks for your comment – you’re an inspiration!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  3. I do believe, that the key to achieve set goal is in small steps, but, please do forget , that withot true desier for achievment and our persistence will take us to our goal. Thing is, that in life we have some many external influences, that we forget to stay focus. And that’s the main reason why it takes much oonger to achieve our goal, or maybe this even eman, not achieving it at all. Therefore, BE PERSISTENT and fight for your goals.
    Cheers
    Alex

  4. Thanks for your comments.

    I agree that making people feel good about themselves is an essential people skill, whether you want to achieve your career goals or just have better relationships in general.

    And I love the idea of creating your opportunities! :-)

  5. Great tips on how to achieve your career goals. Having a positive attitude and going for it has always worked for me. I have always created my own opportunities. I have never waited for anyone to present them. It has paid off ten fold.

    Be bold and have courage!

  6. I think the most important people skill is knowing how to make people feel good about themselves. My boss is amazing that way, all it takes is five minutes with him and you walk away feeling like you could do anything, even get a job promotion or raise or be the president!

    I wish I had people skills like my boss.