Welcome to today’s lesson. Our first two lessons laid the foundation for career advancement. Today, we are focusing on your ability to work with and get along with others. Social skills help you develop effective, mutually beneficial relationships that benefit your career because the stronger your networks, the more opportunities you have for advancement. Whom you know and who knows you are critical factors for long-term success.
“Business is nothing more than relationships. It’s the secret.” —Lee Corso
You Must Manage Perceptions
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “perception is reality.” This is especially true in business. People’s perception of you drives how they act toward you. If they see you as a professional with experience and expertise, they will listen to you more closely and take what you say more seriously, and vice versa. The good news is that you can manage how you are perceived by others.
• Observe people who are listened to and taken seriously. How do they act? How do they communicate? What kind of body language do they use? Learn how they do it and modify it to fit your personality and job.
• Be honest about your abilities and identify where you need improvement. Take classes in persuasion, communication, emotional intelligence.
• Share your career goals with your manager and research what kind of training you need to advance. Let them know about classes you are taking or have taken that can benefit the job you are doing.
Demonstrate High Emotional Intelligence
Originally introduced by Daniel Goleman in 1995, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your own and other’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use this information to guide your thinking and behavior. Since then, the concept has evolved and changed. Today, we’re going to look at Emotional Intelligence 2.0, the model developed by Dr. Bradberry.
The higher your emotional intelligence, the stronger your interpersonal relationships. According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2 and founder of TalentSmart, “Of all the people we’ve studied at work, we’ve found that 90 percent of top performers are also high in emotional intelligence. On the flip side, just 20 percent of bottom performers are high in emotional intelligence. You can be a top performer without emotional intelligence, but the chances are slim.”
This model involves two primary areas with two sub-areas:
• Self-Awareness: Understanding what you are feeling—your emotions.
• Self-Management: Using this understanding to control your emotions and corresponding behavior.
• Social Awareness: Tuning into what others are experiencing and feeling without judgment.
• Relationship Management: Using your knowledge of your emotions and their emotions to manage interactions successfully.
You can improve your emotional intelligence by starting with Personal Competence. Become good at recognizing your emotions and control how you respond to them. Once you know yourself, work on paying attention to others to improve your Social Competence.
Strive for Civility in All Situations
Dr. P.M. Forni, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, co-founded the Johns Hopkins Civility Project (JHCP) in 1997, with the purpose of assessing the significance of civility, manners, and politeness in contemporary society. It evolved into The Civility Initiative at Johns Hopkins, which Dr. Forni directed until his death in 2018.
The effort resulted in 25 factors or aspects of civility. The 25 are derived from three:
• Respect: Show respect and courtesy to everyone at all times. No one has ever complained that someone was “too polite.”
• Restraint: Evaluate the impact of what you are about to say or do before acting. If you believe that there will be negative consequences, stop and consider them before acting.
• Responsibility: Take responsibility, be accountable, and accept the consequences for everything you do. Don’t make excuses or blame others.
These three elements of civility with cultivating high Emotional Intelligence form are the lynchpin of effective workplace relationships that can serve you throughout your career.
Action Steps to Improve and Showcase Your Social Skills
• Volunteer to coach or mentor others and to work on special projects.
• Freely share ideas, find solutions to problems, and use your expertise to willingly help your colleagues.
• Be supportive of and encouraging toward others.
• Stop and think before responding to others; keep responses appropriate for the situation.
• Pay attention to how others perceive you and always act in ways that showcase professionalism.
Cultivating strong social skills not only will serve you for your entire career, they will also enhance your personal life and satisfaction. They also play an important role in tomorrow’s lesson on collaboration and negotiation—two skills you need if you want your ideas and recommendations accepted by others.
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