top of page

Don’t Just Focus on Your Technical Skills. Focus On Your People Skills.

The career growth of young professionals is frequently seen too narrowly. Early in our careers, we frequently devote a lot of effort to developing strategies that concentrate on honing our technical talents while ignoring the more strategic interpersonal skills that enable significant professional advancement. Why?

Since climbing the corporate ladder is an objective metric of success, many of us associate job progress with promotions. We can think to ourselves: How can I get a promotion?"

What objectives must I reach in order to demonstrate that my influence has been sufficient?

What abilities must I exhibit to prove that I am prepared for the following stage?

Which initiatives must I take part in to get the necessary experience to assume greater responsibility?

From our responses, we construct our professional development strategies. These strategies are founded on precise, tactical goals that are both obvious and tangible, and they have well-defined results that can be reached quickly. Frequently, achieving our goals necessitates developing the technical abilities necessary to successfully carry out our job responsibilities, such as broadening our understanding of new technologies or learning new programs.

We consider these development strategies to be sure-fire-winning formulas, and for a while they are. Technical abilities could get us our first promotions, but they won't be as useful in three or four years. When we take on more senior positions, interpersonal skills—which influence how we operate both alone and with others—become more important and valued. And it takes a lot longer to build such talents. The sooner you start honing them, the better.

You must first learn how to be a good follower before you can be a good leader. Managing up, down, and sideways is one technique to do this. You will ultimately require the support of your superiors, the validation of your peers' ideas, and the assistance of people who are less senior than you in order to carry out any long-term aim. How to get there is as follows:

Know your manager's objectives and show respect for their time.

Make sure you comprehend the short- and long-term goals of your management and team at one-on-one and team meetings. To comprehend how your ongoing duties and initiatives integrate into the bigger picture, you need to know this knowledge. You're more likely to accomplish your goals more quickly if you and your management are on the same page.

Respect their time and handle issues quickly. Make sure you comprehend the strategic difficulties your boss is experiencing before you present any ideas to them. What challenges are they facing in achieving their long-term objectives? What can I do in my capacity to support them in overcoming these obstacles? You may then think of quantifiable outcomes and pitch your ideas as solutions to their challenges. Your answers don't need to be "correct," but having a distinct viewpoint that is supported by facts will show that you have problem-solving skills. You want to demonstrate to your manager that you are a trustworthy and forceful thought partner.

Manage Sideways: Create solid relationships with colleagues to create momentum.

Develop close relationships with your coworkers and create a space where you can provide and receive criticism. Get input from your peers before introducing a new procedure or proposal to your supervisor, for instance, if you want to adopt one. You'll be able to learn important lessons from this, change your direction, and come up with a more reasonable plan of action. Sharing knowledge may also energize and motivate you and your team members. The objective is to improve your ability to collaborate and think critically.

Manage down: Train and mentor

Spend money on teaching the younger team members whenever you can. As it improves your ability to listen actively, extend your viewpoint, and enhance your narrative skills, mentoring is a terrific method to develop your leadership talents. Also, you can get support from those who are cognizant of your thinking style and who can aid in the more effective and efficient completion of undertakings.

Improve your emotional quotient (EI).

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the capacity to recognize, control, and make use of emotions in ways that reduce stress, improve communication, foster empathy, face obstacles head-on, and diffuse conflict. It consists of four domains: relationship management, social awareness, self-management, and self-awareness.

By using instruments for self-assessment like The Big 5 Inventory, NEO Personality Inventory, and others, young professionals may aim to improve their emotional intelligence (EI). These tools can assist you in identifying your advantages, areas for improvement, and prejudices, as well as how they may differ from those of others.

The major strengths and weaknesses, work habits, and communication styles of your coworkers may all be discovered using a variety of personality tests that are supported by research. You will become more adept in social settings and help you develop productive working connections with individuals at all levels of your business by exploring typical personality types and how they act in the workplace.

As a young professional, you may frequently find yourself needing to exert influence yet having little to no authority. In the future, for example, you could have to persuade a diverse collection of stakeholders that your proposal is sound. You may alter your delivery and communication style to increase your impact by researching the positives and negatives of popular personality types. If you're giving a presentation to someone who likes to dominate talks and is very outgoing, for instance, you may start by explaining that you'll lay out your concept first and then accept questions. Nevertheless, if you're dealing with a visual learner, you may explain your thoughts using data charts or infographics to make your arguments more understandable to them.

Visual narrative art.

The ability to convey a story using a combination of words, images, symbols, infographics, or diagrams is known as visual storytelling. It enables you to visually guide your audience through a deliberate progression of information, making it simpler for them to adopt the viewpoint you desire.

More than 65% of the general public are visual learners, which means they must see the material to retain it, according to research. According to studies, people recall 80% of the information they see, 20% of the information they read, and 10% of the information they hear. This implies that you may have a lot of influence inside your business if you can successfully picture your concept and deliver it to your audience.

My experience has shown that studying corporate presentations from many firms is the greatest method to enhance this talent. If they are a publicly listed corporation, you can frequently find these on the websites of the company under the "investor relations" category. They are frequently written by C-suite executives or communication specialists. Regardless of the industry or sector, these presentations offer insightful information in a clear and concise manner, are visually stimulating to help explain difficult ideas, and are told in a particular order to create a narrative that evokes the emotions the presenter wants their audience to feel. They may provide you with examples of other methods to structure and represent concepts that you may not have considered.

Young professionals frequently overlook the value of developing strategic interpersonal skills in favor of mastering technical ones that might be more directly linked to short-term progress. Yet as you go up the corporate ladder, you'll realize that technical proficiency isn't enough to progress. Early interpersonal skill development will provide you an advantage in obtaining future promotions that might perhaps launch your career. By Ahmadxon Hasanov


bottom of page