Learn how to really "connect" with someone.
"Tom is a great accountant, but his 'people' skills hold him back. I can't see how he'll ever be promoted unless he does something about it."
Many of us know people who have reached a certain point in their careers because of excellent technical skills – but they somehow don't get along with team members, because their people skills lag far behind their other job skills.
This might be due to the insensitive manner in which they ask co-workers for things, the way they never seem to listen to what others say, or their intolerance for other methods of working.
Do you have colleagues like Tom? Or, perhaps, are you like Tom?
Workers with poor people skills can often find themselves in the middle of unnecessary conflict. This can be exhausting and stressful for all concerned, and it can destroy even the best laid work plans.
Many people are confident that they can develop new technical skills and knowledge through training and experience. However, there's a common belief that "you are how you are" when it comes to people skills – or "soft" skills – and that there's little or nothing you can do to change these.
Fortunately, this is far from true. And a great place to start improving soft skills is by developing the ability to empathize with others.
Empathy is simply recognizing emotions in others, and being able to "put yourself in another person's shoes" – understanding the other person's perspective and reality.
To be empathic, you have to...
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