The Importance of Social Skills in the Workplace
I am not sure if it is because of our constant use of technology or the isolation caused by the pandemic, but the lack of social skills has been glaring on a different level than ever before.
Social skills are something we use every day whether at home, at the grocery store, or at work. An excellent definition for social skills is, "the verbal and nonverbal communication skills required to foster connections and appropriately navigate social settings." (According to www.betterup.com)
I believe there is an opportunity for all of us to improve in our social skills. Here are 3 simple steps we can take: - Ask more than you speak: Have you ever been around someone who does all of the talking? They have a story for everything and barely let you get a word in. Perhaps, you might be that one who is constantly interrupting or being interrupted when you begin to speak. All of these scenarios lead to frustrations. Make an effort to ask questions and listen well. Create an environment where there is a dialogue instead of a monologue.
- Improve your emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence "(EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions." (www.verywellmind.com) Being able to tell if someone is feeling frustrated, sad, or discouraged gives you the chance to acknowledge their experience, encourage where appropriate, ask the questions to hear the heart of the matter, or simply show your support. Without emotional intelligence, leaders will fail to build strong teams, handle conflict, create environments where people will share when things are not going well.
-Minimize your distractions when you are talking to someone: This is a big one especially given the remote/hybrid environment that many are working in these days. How many times do we automatically grab our phone, check a slack message/email, multitask when we are in a meeting or during a 1-1? These nonverbal cues share a message that the person you are speaking with is not as important. Something gets lost in what you hear, and something gets lost in your relationship to the other person. These three strategies are simple things that you can practice. Why? I am hoping that you want to foster greater levels of connection and relationship building with those around you. I am hoping that you want to move from transactional types of relationships to those that are relational. Both aspects are needed, but one will give you far greater results in the end.