Are your social skills helping you to advance your career? This is an important question to consider as you seek out new opportunities and develop your personal brand.
Today’s employers hire not only for technical skills but the right attitude as well, and well-honed social skills help people to feel comfortable with you and enjoy working with you, says Rosanne Thomas, president of Protocol Advisors, Inc.
Thomas, the author of Excuse Me: The Survival Guide to Modern Business Etiquette (AMACOM, 2017), discusses the value of business etiquette and social skills with AMA’s Edgewise podcast series. She points out that many jobs will become redundant in the coming decade due to advancements in technology. To stand out, people will need to be “more human.”
“How are you going to distinguish yourself? It’s going to be through your people skills,” Thomas said.
Building social skills in the workplace
Thomas offers these tips on honing your social skills at work:
- Many people believe they have a great attitude, but they may not be displaying it to others. Thomas suggests that you identify ways to show your winning attitude—such as listening well, smiling at people, and holding doors for others—and then follow through.
- You can increase your chances of success by thinking about how you make other people feel. “How do you make the other person feel valued, respected, listened to?” said Thomas.
- Follow the “platinum rule” by treating people the way they wish to be treated. To meet this rule, you may need to do some due diligence. “We’ve got to get out of our own heads and try to figure out what respect means to that person sitting across from us,” she said.
- Adapt to your organization’s culture when it comes to attire and other norms. As Thomas notes, while we may be moving toward flatter organizations, there are still people in charge. “We’ve got to make sure we know what the culture is, and make sure we are not offending anyone between us and the person who’s in charge,” she said.
For more information on workplace etiquette, listen to the podcast with Rosanne Thomas.
Visit AMA Edgewise for podcasts on a variety of business and management topics.
To fully engage with others and succeed as a leader, you need to develop your P.E.O.P.L.E skills—Professionalism, Empathy, Optimism, Partnering, Loyalty, and Empowerment.