Every industry has a special set of skills you need to succeed. But one thing that every job has in common is the importance of people skills. Honing your “soft skills” like communication, emotional intelligence, and leadership will not only help you do well at work, but in your personal life, too. Below, five top business people share why they think interpersonal skills are so important to success.
Our nearly constant connection to the internet means that many people (and businesses) hide behind an online persona. However, clients and colleagues still like to put a face to a name. “Companies have their names on the door, but people buy from people,” says John Fielding, a Toronto business leader and founder of global retail merchandising company Array Marketing. Whether you are running a business or managing a team, a leader should put themselves out there. “You need human connection. A leader also needs to be visible to his or her employees and make them feel good about the work they’re doing,” he continues. You can craft the perfect identity for yourself on paper, but showing who you truly are through your personality and values are the key to lasting business relationships.
John Baldoni, leadership speaker, executive coach, and executive educator, agrees. “To lead, an ability to communicate as well as understand, support and develop people is essential,” he explains. A successful business person knows how to express their ideas to others as well as listen in order to meets customers’ and coworkers’ needs. “Business is tough, yes,” Baldoni continues, “but a little warmth around the edges sure helps people get through the day.” No matter how stressful your job gets, showing compassion will get you far in the business world.
In the same vein, maintaining a positive attitude even in trying situations is a valuable soft skill in business. According to Pallavi Mehta, a Leadership Hiring specialist at GENPACT, staying positive “pushes an individual to be more analytic and collaborate with others to solve problems using a variety of problem solving tools and techniques. This ultimately helps in everyone’s contribution to a positive outcome.”
Being a strong leader takes more than just being good at your job. People skills are what set good managers apart from great ones. Career coach Roy Cohen believes that “these skills allow you to minimize conflict, to get people to want to spend time with you, to believe in your mission.” Anyone can be intelligent and skilled at job-related tasks, but knowing how to connect with customers, coworkers, and employees set you apart from the crowd.
Even in the most solitary job, you have to interact with many other people each day. That’s why strong people skills are so essential to any line of work. Valuing soft skills in the workplace is on the rise and it will only get more important.