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Top 10 people skills to put your career on a fast track

Written By Sambasivarao on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 | Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Smart resumes are useful only in getting a job. To sustain it, one requires not just expertise in one's field but, more importantly, inter-personal skills. Here are the top people skills that will help you put your career on a fast track.


Be assertive. The team needs your inputs and ideas, so learn to express yourself verbally and in writing. Be direct and clear, using simple language and minimum words. Assertiveness is not aggression, so stick to positive language, learn to accept a 'No' and don't alienate people by bragging. Observe how people react to your words and choose them accordingly.


If speaking up is important, learning to listen is critical. Getting the communication right the first time saves you trouble later. Be 100% present in every conversation and listen sincerely, and with humility and empathy. Do not fidget, worry about your problems or sit in judgement. With time, you will understand different communication styles and avoid misunderstandings.


Conflict resolution is the biggest skill that managers and leaders need. Start by building trust. Being fair will help people listen to you during disagreements. To resolve issues, seek common ground between both parties and present both sides equally. Find consensus and hold people accountable for their actions. Focus on the solution, not on the problem or people concerned.


The workplace is for teams, not individuals. Success comes only thro ugh team work. The closer the bonds you build with people, the easier your work will be. Break the ice with a smile and increase quality time spent with people, both in and outside office. Genuine interest for team members will bring them closer to you.


Even if it appears difficult or corny, learn to say thank-you and express gratitude. Be sincere and specific in your words. Acknowledge your subordinate who stayed back late to complete the presentation for your meeting. Your acknowledgement helps people feel energised and creates an enabling environment for the team.


Each organisation and team has its code of conduct besides the expected workplace behaviour. Pay close attention and follow both general and local etiquette. Master non-verbal communication: have clear eye contact and a confident posture. Only if your body language and behaviour are in line with expectations, will your words have an impact.


Learn how to question people and respond in the right way. Questions are vital to learn how things work, foster close relationships in a team, manage people and projects and avoid needless conflict. The right way causes people to calm down and reach an agreement. Avoid a manner that assumes wrong intention or wrongdoing on the other person's part.


Japanese legends respect the power of mirror or self-knowledge. Introspect to know what makes you thrive and what makes you lose focus and motivation. Figure out the same for people around you. You will soon realise that there are many right approaches to getting the work done. Your sensitivity to what people say will also reduce, making you resilient and persistent in challenging times.


US President Barack Obama is known to never lose his cool even in the most stressful situations. Doing so will give you power over the 0situation and people involved. The first step towards learning to control your anger is to shut up and walk out or walk away till you have calmed down. You can come back later with a planned response to achie ve your aims with minimum disturbance to you or your team.


The quickest secret to success is to ask yourself: 'What do I want?' Figure out what you want from the situation or the person you are dealing with. This will help formulate a plan and take the best action possible. Knowing what you want from people will empower you to redirect a challenging relationship or even terminate it with minimum pain, if the need arises. 

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