Qualifications, experience, technical skills and leadership skills are all vital for getting ahead in the workplace. However, none of these are likely to help you further your career if you don’t possess good people skills. The ability to relate to other people is one of the most vital for success. In the PDF attachment you can see some of the reasons why good people management skills are essential for career progression. As an architectural lead manager, John Hiscocks cites leadership and motivation, client relationship management, and architect and engineer liaison among his key responsibilities. Each of these core competencies requires excellent people skills to develop strong, positive working relationships.
The most fundamental of all people skills is the ability to communicate effectively. The ability to not only formulate ideas but also to articulate them is one thing that makes great leaders stand out from the rest. The way we communicate also showcases our personalities and how well we get on with colleagues, as well as persuading people to follow where we lead. Effective communicators get their ideas across without being pushy and are prepared to listen to others. Active listening is an essential aspect of good communication as it makes others feel valued and respected, as well as opening the floodgates to potential new ideas and solutions to problems. Never rush to conclusions, talk to colleagues whilst also checking emails, or finish another person’s sentences.
Relate and Empathise
Being able to relate to other people doesn’t mean always agreeing, but it does mean always respecting another person’s viewpoint. Sometimes, being able to relate to someone means letting them know that, while you truly understand where they are coming from, you will have to respectfully agree to disagree on this point. Knowing when and how to show empathy is part of relating to others – just because you’re in charge doesn’t mean you can’t offer sympathy and support and behave like a human being with emotions. In fact, if you’re in charge, it’s even more vital that you can offer sympathy and support at the right times and in the right way when an employee needs it.
Trust Your Team
As a manager it is your responsibility to ensure that everyone on your team is doing what they are supposed to be doing, to the agreed standard and within the allotted timeframe. However, when you micromanage you can alienate people and therefore see poorer results. Be sure you have hired the right team and put into place all the support, training procedures and resources that are necessary for each member of that team to be able to do their job effectively. After that, you need to take a step back and trust everyone to do just that. When people are trusted to get things done, they are more likely to want to do so and they will feel more confident in their abilities. Let your team members know support is there if they need it by all means, but don’t spend all day looking over their shoulders.
Reward and Share Success
Incorporating an attitude of ‘we’ across the team, rather than ‘I’, helps everyone feel valued and important. When the team has a success, ensure everyone gets credit. However, this doesn’t mean individual efforts should go unrewarded. Make sure everyone knows that their efforts are appreciated, whether it’s as part of the wider team achieving goals, or by rewarding individuals that have gone above and beyond. Be clear about the criteria for success and reward so everyone knows what ‘we’ are trying to achieve.