Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 9, 2019

13 Essential People Skills to Succeed in Your Career

13 Essential People Skills to Succeed in Your Career

Possessing strong people skills is an incredible asset in your career. They are actually a great resource in all areas of your life. There are many people skills that can help you succeed in your career.

People skills are the various tools we all use to interact and communicate effectively with other people in our lives. You may have heard the term “soft skills“. People skills fall into this category. These are things you can’t measure like how well you score on an excel test. People with strong people skills are able to socialize well and relate to others. They are also known as social skills, interpersonal skills, and emotional intelligence to some degree.

In this article, we will take a look at 13 of the most essential people skills that will help you boost your career. Take a look at your current arsenal of people skills and see what you can do to up your game. The level of success you achieve in your career depends on it.

1. Strong Communication Skills

This one is near and dear to my heart. I am a huge fan and proponent of how strong communication skills can help you at work and in all relationships. Being able to communicate clearly in both a written and spoken manner helps people understand you much better.

When you are able to articulate your points, it’s going to help you in all facets of your career. Make sure you are a strong communicator in both a verbal and a written format. If you think about how many interactions you have with people at work, it’s easy to see how strong communication skills will help your career.

2. Showing Empathy

The ability to show empathy is a very good people skill to have as well. When you show empathy, you have the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You can see another person’s point of view and that is a great people skill to have. It helps you see other points of view and not get locked into your own way of thinking all the time.

It’s easy to take a tunnel vision approach when trying to get your point of view across to someone. When other people see that you empathize with them, they feel understood. Feeling understood leads to a mutual feeling of trust. And creating trusting work partnerships is absolutely critical in succeeding in business.

3. Being Adaptable and Flexible

You know that saying that the only constant is change? I don’t know about you but, I’ve found this to be true in just about every phase of my life. And it is certainly true about work.

Things change all the time. Another of the 13 essential people skills to succeed in your career is the ability to be adaptable and flexible.

When I am wrapping up my day at work, the last thing I always do is make my to do list for the next day. Many times, I get a large chuck of my to do list done the next day. But sometimes, something urgent comes up at work and I can’t get anything done on my list. This is how we have to be adaptable and flexible in order to succeed.

Things come up, things change. Have the ability to change with them. This makes you someone who can roll with the punches and continue to be productive despite changing priorities.

Advertising

4. The Powers of Influence

In a job description, you might see something like “having the ability to influence key decision makers”. This is not a piece of fluff to help fill out the job description. It’s an essential people skill that will help you in your career.

The ability to impact and influence people is a key competency frequently identified in top performers. The ability to impact and influence is often the number one competency in service, sales, managerial, and leadership roles. It’s really all about having the skill to persuade and convince others to support an idea, concept, or initiative.

In my current role, I am the Director of Recruiting. Although I am less than 6 months into my position, I am being relied on for my expertise in a variety of areas. The reason being, and one of the main reasons I got the role, was the ability to influence people to a new way of thinking and doing things.

I have knowledge in certain areas and the ability to communicate effectively with business leaders in such a way as to show them that a new way of doing things will yield better results than the previous way did. It’s the ability to influence.

5. A Great Sense of Humor

It’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t like to laugh. You know that nice feeling of a lightened load after a good laugh? The general sense of feeling more at ease and relaxed?

Having a great sense of humor and the ability to make others laugh will gain you friends and colleagues alike at work. Someone who can make others laugh has the ability to diffuse tension and put others at ease. They are able to direct an emotionally charged conversation at work towards a more open communicating style between all parties.

People with a good sense of humor can put others at ease and tend to get more airtime at meetings and have their points of view heard more often.

6. Assertiveness

Some people equate assertiveness with aggressiveness.

Being assertive in the workplace is about standing up for yourself. For speaking out and sharing your opinions in meetings. It’s about telling your manager that you are fine with putting in extra work when it’s needed but you feel working 60 hour weeks every week for months on end is not what you signed up for.

If you see a project getting ready to fire up and you feel like you could add value, tell your manager or whoever is leading the project.

When you see something isn’t going right and you could help out, then by all means, speak up. It’s about ensuring that you get the opportunities that others get. Being assertive about your career is a good way to earn respect as well.

Advertising

Take a look at this guide on How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way.

7. Active Listening

Many people forget that half of communication is listening. If you don’t practice active listening in the workplace, you are only hearing half the conversation, your own.

Active listening is the ability to be fully present when someone is talking to you. To show them with your body language that you are hearing what they are saying and are absorbing the information.

Tuning out distractions and placing your full attention on the speaker is the best way to practice active listening. When you are an active listener, you absorb information better and perhaps more importantly, show the other person that you really care about what they are saying and their point of view.

I’ve mentioned this before but, it bears repeating. When people feel understood, it creates a strong emotional bond. Everyone wants to feel understood. Through active listening, you are showing others that you care about understanding them.

8. Supportive and Motivational

Another critical people skill to help you succeed in your career is being supportive and motivational. This doesn’t just apply to being a boss, it’s easy to be supportive to others on your team or in your entire workplace.

I work with a group of 4 other talent acquisition professionals. We are all very supportive of each other. We have frequent quick meetings to check on each other’s workload.

If someone is carrying a far heavier load than the others, we offer to help out in any way we can. When someone has strong success, we celebrate it and motivate each other to succeed.

By being supportive and motivational, you help create a strong sense of team in the workplace and this is huge in your career.

9. Problem Solving Skills

This is also known as creative thinking or resourcefulness. Problem solving skills can be a huge benefit in your career. Think of the person that has to ask for help solving every little problem that comes across their desk. Compare this to the person that other people see as the go to person when they can’t figure things out. Who would you rather be?

Sometimes, the answers aren’t there and we go to others for help and that’s fine. When you do that, learn from it; so you don’t have to keep asking the same question over and over.

Advertising

Problem solving skills is also great because when unique obstacles or challenges come up, you are able to look at things in a different ways.

Sometimes, new challenges need new solutions. Be the person that can find new solutions with your awesome problem solving skills. Solving challenges takes pressure off your boss and colleagues which makes it a great people skill to have.

10. Leadership

Having leadership skills doesn’t necessarily mean leading a team or being a manager. Having strong leaderships skills also means you are able to lead others with your knowledge.

If you are a manager, lead by example. You want people to care about their work then you’d better as well.  You want people to be at work by a certain time then you should be as well. Show your team that you care about and support their success. This is a good hallmark of having strong leadership skills.

If you aren’t a manager of people, you can still have leadership skills with your knowledge. You can be the go to person in your area of expertise. People can see you as a leader in your expertise at work and you can be seen as a leader in your specialization outside of work as well. It’s having the ability to share your knowledge with others and the desire to help them succeed and advance their career.

Learn these 10 Management Skills to Become a Strong Leader.

11. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions as well as the emotions of others. In other words, it’s being able to know how you are feeling and managing them in the context of when and where there are happening. It’s also being able to do the same with others around you.

Here’s an example that has happened to me on more than one occasion. An email comes in and I read it. As I read more and more, I get more and more angry until I feel like steam is coming out of my ears. When I am smarter and manage my angry emotions, I will walk away from the email and not respond until I calm down. I have done this. I’ve also immediately responded with a fiery email back. And that goes about as well as you’d imagine.

I’m sure you can also think of a situation where a fellow colleague was upset about something and you knew it. How you handle interacting with that colleague that is upset goes a long way toward showing how emotionally intelligent you are. You can see why this is an essential people skill to succeed in your career.

12. Being a Team Player

Being a team player will be incredibly helpful as a way to help propel your career. Team players are sought out by others. People in positions of leadership always want team players as part of their group. Why? Because they tend to be more productive and are great at helping the whole team succeed.

There’s nothing wrong with being an individual contributor but, you should also be able to get along with other people you interact with. It’s being the person that others know they can get in touch in a pinch. Or someone that will help out when the chips are down.

Advertising

When others view you as a team player, they see you as reliable and someone they want to work with. That’s high on the list of 13 essential people skills to succeed in your career.

13. Negotiation Skills

Possessing good negotiation skills is very good for your career. A lot of people tend to think of negotiation skills in the context of hard core, wheeling and dealing with the money hungry businessmen. That’s the image but not the reality.

Examples of negotiation skills in your business life and career happen all the time if you make use of them. Let’s say you get a job offer and you ask for more money. They say no. A good negotiator will ask for an additional week of paid time off or the ability to work from home once a week. Anyone who interacts with vendors on a regular basis like I do knows it’s important to get the best value whenever possible. This makes you look better to your employer.

I recently landed a really great recruit. My negotiation skills closed the gap between what the employer wanted to pay and the compensation the candidate wanted. In the end, we all came to a great agreement that worked for everyone.

Strong negotiation skills are a good people skill to possess. You can take a look at these 12 Tactics to Negotiate Better and Not Be a Pushover.

The Bottom Line

It’s easy to see why these people skills will help you succeed in your career. It’s not common for someone to excel in all 13 essential people skills but it is possible and does happen.

When you see someone who is doing well in their career and is being noticed in the corporate setting, chances are they possess many of these people skills.

I invite you to take a look at how developed your people skills are. If you see some areas where they could be better, take the time to work on improving them. Your career will thank you.

More About Communication

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Mat Apodaca

On a mission to share about how communication in the workplace and personal relationships plays a large role in your happiness

13 Essential People Skills to Succeed in Your Career How to Deal with Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide) 10 Expert Techniques to Deal with Difficult People How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide) How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Trending in Social Animal

1 7 Secrets of a Happy Marriage Revealed by a Relationship Expert 2 What to Do If You Find Yourself in an Unhappy Marriage 3 13 Essential People Skills to Succeed in Your Career 4 Are You Too Needy In Relationships? 9 Signs You Are And How to Stop 5 How to Save a Marriage That Is Falling Apart

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 23, 2019

30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

The greatest books are defined as classics for a reason. Written by the greatest literary minds of their time, they have universal themes, characters, experiences, emotions and perspectives that are still relevant today. Some of them are the very inspiration from which entire modern genres of literary fiction have sprung up from.

If you love reading, here’s a perfect reading list for you. Even if you aren’t so much into reading, here’re 10 reasons to love reading.

Everyone should read at least once for these 30 books — some are well known classics, others are modern giants.  All are well worth reading at least once in your life!

1. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

50-anniversary-cover1

    Published in 1960, this timeless classic explores human behaviour and the collective conscience of The Deep South in the early 20th century. Humour entwines the delicate strands of prejudice, hatred, hypocrisy, love and innocence to create one of the best novels ever written.

    Print | eBook | Audiobook

    2. 1984, by George Orwell

    1984

      Although 1984 has passed us by, George Orwell’s dystopian, totalitarian world of control, fear and lies has never been more relevant. Delve into the life of Winston Smith as he struggles with his developing human nature in a world where individuality, freewill and love are forbidden.

      Print | eBook | Audiobook

      3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling

      harry_potter_and_the_Sorcerers_stone_adult_usa

        I’m willing to bet you’ve heard of Harry Potter, but have you read the books? Join Harry Potter as he begins his journey into the world of magic, where he is the celebrated Boy Who Lived. Visit Hogwarts, meet your favourite characters and watch Harry grow into the one of the most famous literary characters in the world.

        Print | eBook | Audiobook

        4. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

        9780618640157_custom-s6-c30

          Middle Earth is a wonderful, expansive fantasy world filled with turmoil, heroes, evil and innocence. Although our protagonist Frodo Baggins’ quest seems impossible to complete, this trilogy is a tale of triumph in the most impossible circumstances.

          Print | eBook | Audiobook

          5. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

          Penguin-2

            Published in 1925, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby explores the decadence of the Jazz Age, and one man’s introduction into a world where even those with the most indulgent lives cannot earn love.

            Print | eBook | Audiobook

            6. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

            pride_and_prejudice_book_cover_by_fourblackbirds-d533108

              One of the most famous novels of all time, Pride And Prejudice details the courtship of two opposed characters in a world where manners and courtesy are of the utmost importance.

              Advertising

              Print | eBook | Audiobook

              7. The Diary Of A Young Girl, by Anne Frank

              diary-of-anne-frank-postcard-front_0

                Unforgettable and deeply influential, Anne Frank’s diary is a raw account of a young girl’s life as she hides from the Nazis. Despite her circumstances, Anne believes that people are still good at heart and that the world is full of beauty: she will change your life.

                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                8. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

                71h2sjik5al-_sl1380_

                  Set in Germany during 1939, The Book Thief follows Liesel as she rescues books from the tyranny of Nazi rule. Meanwhile, her family has hidden a Jewish fighter in their basement and death looks down on the family, narrating our tale. Experience bravery that is rarely found in the world, and friendship that is formed in the most unlikely of situations.

                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                  9. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

                  Hobbit_book

                    Although the movies are inexplicably long, The Hobbit was originally written as a short children’s book. Meet your favourite characters for the first time as the unforgettable Bilbo Baggins traverses the harsh landscapes of Middle Earth to challenge a dragon.

                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                    10. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

                    9780147514011

                      Join four sisters, each with their own prominent personality, as they come of age in charming 19th Century New England. Experience their struggles and revel in their flaws, as these girls become strong women.

                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                      11. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

                      tumblr_nd4wnpO3ZS1tv8vcro1_r1_1280

                        Books are forbidden, and it is our main character Guy Montag’s job to burn any books he comes across. Often compared to George Orwell’s 1984, Ray Bradbury’s dystopian world is an unsettling commentary on Western societies’ addiction and dependence on the media and conformity.

                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                        12. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

                        cvr9781416500247_9781416500247_hr

                          Arguably one of the most influential fictional heroines of all time, Jane Eyre is a strong, unbroken women despite her troubled childhood and repressed Victorian society.
                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                          13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

                          Advertising

                          Print

                            This famous 1945 satire, examines the realistic risks of revolution and the dynamics animals will inevitably give in to.

                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                            14. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

                            gone-with-the-wind

                              Set in The South during The Civil War, chances are if you love the movie you’ll love the book. Although the main character and the world she lives in is loathsome, readers’ opinions are twisted as this novel dishes out a fated justice when both Scarlett and The South lose their wars.

                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                              15. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

                              97803167694881

                                Starring the original cynical adolescent, The Catcher In The Rye explores the challenges and isolation of adolescence. Decipher your own message as you follow sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield, in this novel that has split audiences for decades.

                                PrintAudiobook

                                16. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White

                                image_35

                                  Team up with Charlotte, a loving and generous spider, and Fern, a farmers daughter as they try to save Wilbur the piglet from becoming breakfast. Charlotte’s Web is a compelling reminder to bask in the simplistic wonders of everyday life, and to be kind to all living creatures.

                                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                  17. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

                                  il_fullxfull.346024210

                                    Another renowned fantasy world, Narnia is the home of hundreds of magnificent creatures each with their own origins, morals and ideals. Let you imagination run wild as you enter the wardrobe and meet some of the most famous literary characters in history.

                                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                    18. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

                                    9780141185064

                                      Published in 1939, this novel set during The Great Depression follows one Oklahoma family as they are forced to travel to California. Experience America in a tale where it’s people are divided into the haves and have-nots, the powerful and the powerless.

                                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                      19. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

                                      previous_Lord_of_the_Flies

                                        This classic novel follows the lives of boys marooned on an island as they regress into savages; and their beautiful, enjoyable island existence collapses into a primitive and cruel nightmare.

                                        Advertising

                                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                        20. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

                                        kiterunner

                                          A story of true friendship, The Kite Runner follows Amir as he tries to find the only true friend he’s ever had – despite abandoning him due to ethnic and religious differences that were prominent in Kabul, Afghanistan.

                                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                          21. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

                                          bookcover2

                                            Of Mice And Men is a complex story of a friendship between two migrant workers: George Milton and Lennie Small, in California. Watch their friendship develop as the pair work towards their modest dreams of owning their own land and pets.

                                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                            22. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

                                            twocities

                                              Following eighteen years as a political prisoner, Dr Manette is released and returns to England with his daughter Lucie. There, two very different men fall in love with Lucie and become entwined in a tale of love and sacrifice.

                                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                              23. Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare

                                              cvr9781451621709_9781451621709_hr

                                                Perhaps the most famous love story ever written, Romeo and Juliet is an epic tragedy that explores the euphoria of desire and the tragedy of revenge.

                                                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                24. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

                                                h2g2-01 copy

                                                  Grab a towel and accompany human Arthur Dent on a fantastic adventure across the galaxy. Learn not to take the universe so seriously and forget any meaning you’ve applied to anything in your life, because we all know the real meaning of life is 42.

                                                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                  25. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

                                                  216215

                                                    Published in 1847, this passionate and harrowing story of love, rivalry and revenge follows Catherine Earnshaw and her father’s adopted foundling Heathcliff as they grow into very different adults.

                                                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                    Advertising

                                                    26. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

                                                    purple

                                                      Winner of multiple awards, The Color Purple is a devastating tale that tackles the lives of colored women in 1930s USA. Censored and challenged, the harsh reality displayed in The Color Purple will leave you shaken.

                                                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                      27. Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

                                                      alice_cover

                                                        Bizarre and curious, Alice In Wonderland explores the potential of imagination and the reality of fiction. If you’re a fan of escaping the real world, this is definitely the book for you.

                                                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                        28. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

                                                        frankenstein_book_cover_by_mario0357-d6rszr0

                                                          A combination of gothic thriller, cautionary tale and romance novel, Frankenstein is a story like no other. Written by Mary Shelley when she was just eighteen, Frankenstein prompts readers to ask themselves some truly shattering questions: what makes us human? What do we owe to one another as living creatures? How far can science push the boundaries of nature?

                                                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                          29. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

                                                          Huck-Fin

                                                            Often titled The Great American Novel, The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn is a deep and complex tale of friendship, adolescence and shifting societal norms.

                                                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                            30. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

                                                            9780385333849_custom-s6-c30

                                                              Although Vonnegut himself admits there are few characters or confrontations in this book, the impact of his novel is undeniable.

                                                              We travel through life with our protagonist Billy Pilgrim as he experiences World War II from a rather unique perspective – that is, he’s been abducted from his home planet of Tralfamadore. Rich and deeply funny, this tale aims to discourage us from war and murder that the authorities force the public into.

                                                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                              Featured photo credit: Prasanna Kumar via unsplash.com

                                                              Read Next