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Social Skills in the Workplace
By: Victoria L. Rayner
Posted: October 17, 2008, from the November 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
There are many different relationships that can be formed in this world, but few are as important as the ones developed between those who share their workspace. The way team members relate to each other in a professional environment is vitally important because these individuals have such an impact on the overall quality of an employee’s life. If you do not relate well to those with whom you interact on a daily basis, it can cause enormous problems that can affect not only your health and emotional well-being, but also can threaten the very core of your financial security. Following is advice to help minimize friction and assist you in better understanding and relating to the people with whom you work.
If you are a career-conscious professional, you may want to investigate the meaning of the term“team-friendly.” When any relationship exists between two people, tension and opposition are very real possibilities. The reason for this is simple—each person has limitations and unique qualities and each will affect the other. Getting along with other professionals requires finesse.
In a workplace setting, the use of social skills is often called “emotional intelligence.” Today’s workforces are synergized; it is worth the trouble to practice and perfect your communication skills. Team-friendly workers know that what they say and do affects the entire workforce, and their unsuitable actions do more harm to themselves than anyone else. See Transforming Your Image for ideas on how to improve your social skills in the workplace.
How to lose professional support
Although certain personalities are endearing, others are likely to trigger negative responses and could be used against a person in a business environment. For example, if you try to dominate a group of your peers, you most assuredly will have a tougher time inspiring them; whereas, if you were to coach, you would more easily persuade them to go along with your ideas. The distinction between the two is the element of choice and cooperation as opposed to dictating and creating feelings of oppression. Compulsive behavior or poor planning are key areas that need attention and improvement if you feel you are not connecting with others at work.
The old workforce structure has slowly been reformed, and the hierarchy that once was the last word in operational management has been abolished to make way for a more team-based organization. To fit in to just about any professional environment these days, you have to show up for work fully prepared to use the following social skills.
- Sensitivity that demonstrates your highly attentive listening abilities.
- Confidence to communicate and bring forth new ideas that will stimulate group discussions.
- Inquisitiveness, or the ability to ask the right questions that will allow you to intermingle easily with others in collaborative situations.
- Influence in order to ask those who oppose your suggestions to at least reconsider their adamant positions.
- Respectfulness in order to demonstrate to others that you are flexible enough to explore the possibilities they are trying to share.
- Cooperation in order to contribute to the cohesive structure that is so essential to successful teamwork.
- Generosity in order to help others see that you are capable of lending your support to buoy their tasks and career undertakings.