Wednesday, October 10, 2012

People Skills

I have a lot of conversations with co-workers and others about leadership and people skills. Recently I read an article that said the most successful people are those with the best people skills. The article said that people skills ultimately trump every other skill in the long room. Certainly other skills are needed to be successful but I agree with this article. I have survived in my work environment for nearly 27 years because of my people skills. People skills are difficult to develop if you don’t naturally have them. I have always been a people person despite the fact that people tend to wear me out. I am an “NF” temperament on the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator. In the world of work and people “NF” types are described as the oil that keeps all the machinery running smoothly. I like that analogy. While having those skills I also realize that my introverted nature is why I also find people so exhausting. Sometimes there is irony in our individual personality traits. Beyond the psychological aspects, what are people skills and what does it mean to be a people person. I think the foundation of people skills is caring about people. I’m no Mother Teresa but I do care about people. I also have certain values in my life, regardless of where I am, that I try to practice. My values are love, kindness, compassion, tolerance, patience, fairness, and acceptance. I strive to apply these to every human being that I encounter in my life. It may be a tired waitress in a restaurant, an overwhelmed clerk at the grocery store, a stranger on the street, or a co-worker in my office. I like to believe that the person I am at work is the person I am everywhere else in my life. It’s important that the values I listed above be authentic. You can’t fake caring or people skills.

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