Social skills are as important as technical skills during the course of your professional life, in some sectors even more so, but in all cases, increasing our level of social skills has a direct impact on improving our performance and results. Allen Woo, a team-building specialist and workplace efficiency expert, explains how to exponentially improve the social interaction between workgroups.
Professional skills are developed through education, and social skills, on the other hand, are learned through experience. Although we may have certain natural talents, a good education, and a positive predisposition, it is only through practice and training in these skills that we will be able to obtain exceptional results.
“Soft skills are a set of skills that support behaviors and attitudes that allow us to establish excellent interpersonal relationships, find synergies and consolidate personal bonds based on trust,” explains Woo. “With respect to work, there are a number of must-have soft skills that make for a great work environment and take your team’s performance to the next level.”
Communication is a basic thing, both verbal and nonverbal, to express what we really want to convey. Words are accompanied by our hand gestures, face, body posture, everything. “Good communication is not just about saying what we want to say objectively, but we have to take into account all the emotional aspects of communication, such as active listening and empathy,” Woo points out.
Flexibility in the face of change and adapting to new scenarios is one of the star competencies. The world moves fast and people have to move with it, and the key is to maintain a good attitude. When parameters change and new situations appear, we have to face them in a good way. The solution is not to close ourselves off and not give in.
Despite being in agreement or not, it is necessary to know how to reach an agreement, to be flexible on some points, and even to know how to give in sometimes. These qualities imply knowing how to adapt to the situation and being positive in the face of change.
Woo says, “Teamwork always helps, and in recent years it is receiving the importance it deserves. Increasingly, work is becoming less individualized, and the trend is for the fundamental cell of the company to be the team. Therefore, acquiring the skills to learn to work in a team is fundamental for any professional in practically any sector. The team unites, supports, and brings out the best in us.”
Another important trait is empathy. Being able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes is a great social skill. It is a very special human characteristic to feel comforted when we find another human being who understands, understands, and who accompanies us in emotions and feelings. It seems that something is released, and part of our discomfort is relieved. When we put this capacity at the service of a work team, the emotional tensions are worked from another side and usually have a better solution than when the individualities are above all.
“The benefits of having good social skills at work are numerous and quickly perceptible. To name just a few, suffice it to say that by creating a good work environment, our willingness to go to work changes, and we look forward to going to work, and if we already had them before, they increase,” Woo asserts.
Naturally, you will have more affinity with certain people, but that doesn’t mean you stop talking to the rest. All you need to do is say hello warmly and show some interest in socializing with others. This implies having good nonverbal communication, i.e., not talking with your arms crossed, much less yawning.
“By talking and empathizing with colleagues, we are more aware of their work situation, the projects or jobs they are working on, and if we can contribute something, offering help is a very positive point,” Woo points out. “That way, you not only contribute to improving the results of a job, but you build trust and empathy with the colleague you’re helping, and with the others who see you doing the work.”
Participating in activities outside the office is an activity that is part of being social. Participating in after-office events, birthdays, or celebrations outside the office, for example, helps to create bonds and even form new friendships. It is not the same to meet a person in a work environment as in a more personal environment. It is an opportunity to leave work aside and get to know the person better.