Sunday, October 31, 2010

SOCIAL SKILLS AND WORK LIFE

This article is loosely based on my research paper that I presented at the 6th Annual HR Meet, which was held in New Delhi.

Work is not just about technical skills. Knowing the technicalities of work are of course a necessity, because one has to know what is required to do. However, there are a number of other skills that go hand in hand with the technical skills that are highly important.

Any kind of work requires some kind of interaction with others. An individual in a workplace has to interact with all kinds of people. The person has to interact with the boss, colleagues, and people who are at lower positions. Therefore, getting along with people becomes essential. If the interaction is improper then it may create a lot of discomfort within the work environment.

Interaction with all kinds of people does not only imply people belonging to different positions, but it also implies individual differences, such as differences in personality. Every person has their own way of behaving. To have a congenial environment in the workplace, the individual has to have a proper interaction with each and every person keeping in mind their individual differences.

In a workplace, very often, an individual is required to work in a team. He/she may have people that are completely different from the individual. There may also be people who are somewhat moody and can be irritable. Some may also want things to go according to them, no matter what happens. Such people can be quite difficult to work with. Despite all this, the individual has to get along with everyone and work effectively with them.

At work, most of the interaction that takes place is work-related and thus getting along well with others becomes a factor in being successful on the job. Research shows that the major reason for which people lose their job is not because they do not know their work properly. It is because of inappropriate behavior and having difficulties with interpersonal relationships. Those who do not lose their job are stuck in one position and are not promoted.

Apart from appropriateness of behavior, having good interpersonal skills have been found to be very important in a workplace. Interpersonal skills include a varied range of skills, such as appropriate understanding of the situation and reacting accordingly, understanding the specific mood and emotions of others, being able to resolve conflicts, being able to channelize one’s own mood and emotions, not letting our emotions get the better of us, etc.

Having good interpersonal skills has been found to be majorly useful for managers. Research shows that the difference between a successful manager and a not-so-successful one is having good interpersonal skills. Good interpersonal skills are highly effective for team building and leadership activities. To make his/her subordinates to comply, a leader has to have good interpersonal skills.

Getting along well with others has also been found to be related to a highly significant aspect of work, which is job satisfaction. Working effectively with others not only enhances the quality of work, but it also enhances the quality of work life on the whole.

An individual spends a lot of his/her time at the workplace and thus having good relationships helps a lot in liking that particular job. It has been found that no matter how exciting a job maybe, if the individual does not get along well with others then he/she may not find the job to be interesting enough. On the other hand, if the individual has good and healthy relationships at the workplace then even the most routine job will seem to be enjoyable.

The work of a person constitutes a very significant aspect of one’s life. In some ways, the work a person does forms the identity of that person. Keeping this in view, it becomes very important that an individual enjoys the job that he/she is doing. To enjoy one’s job, it becomes important that the individual likes the surroundings and feels very comfortable at the workplace. Getting along well with others plays a very important role in achieving this.

An individual has to spend a lot of time with his/her co-workers. Perhaps the time spent with co-workers is more than that is spent with friends and family. Having good interpersonal relations and working effectively with others makes work hassle-free.

In today’s day and age everyone goes through a lot of work pressure, which leads to a very stressful life. A congenial work environment helps to a great degree in dealing with the work pressures and coping with stress. All this enhances the quality of work life, which in turn enhances the quality of our entire life. A stress-free work environment leads to a stress-free life.

Social skills can affect our work life in more ways than one. Having appropriate social skills in a workplace enables success on the job, enhancement of quality of work, job satisfaction, enhancement of the quality of work life, and good mental health. Therefore, appropriate social skills are equally important to the technical aspects of work, if not more than that. Socials skills, thus, play a very important role in our work life.

9 comments:

V Rakesh said...

Wonderful post Saif, as always and very informative! Pretty much a guide book!

Vij@ソ said...

Wow well written Dude......

Keep writing such stuff.

:)

The Panorama said...

Very good post. I agree with you that god social skills are very important in a work place.
My question to you is: How to effectively deal with difficult people who want things to be done their way?

I experienced a situation at work where a junior co - worker created a lot of bad vibes. he set up people against me...just because I had corrected his work. I am his immediate boss and he wasn't the only one I had to manage. The whole episode left me very stressed and even though he has now left the company some co workers who still have contact with him act up against me.

I am usaully a people person and get along with most people. Other colleagues tell me they love working with me.

But I want to know how can I deal with such a person?

Saif said...

@ Rakesh
Thanks ... glad to know that you liked it :)



@ Vijay
Thanks :)

Saif said...

@ The Panorama
Yeah, it can be really difficult to work with such people. Well, the first thing that you can do is to show that you are not at all affected by such a behaviour. People like this strive for attention and showing that you're being affected encourages them they continue behaving in such a manner.
The next thing is that you'll have to reason out with such a person and try to make him/her as well as others realize that why he is wrong and why you correcting him is the right way. If others feel that you did the right thing then that person will not be able to turn people against you. If he does, then he'll make a fool out of himself. You'll have to make others realize that what you did was a logical thing and was the best thing to do as far as the benefits of work is concerned.
Lastly, the thing that you can do is that be a little patient. If some people have started to take you in a negative way then just let it be. Keep on working in the way you do and after a while others will themselves realize that the negative things that they thought about you were incorrect and they'll start taking you as you actually are.
Although things may differ depending on the kind of person and situation, I hope that this comment of mine will be of some help to you. :)

Manmeet Sidhu said...

hi sir........
its a really nice article...
sir...really liked it.
communication is a really important factor while we are discussing interpersonal relations.... Wat happens wen communication acts as a deterrent to the relationship in question?
for example...the boss of an xyz company is ethically corrupt....ideally, it should be reported to higher authorities, but we also know that after this, the rapport formed with the boss will be tarnished.
in such situations, either we think of opting out or we suffer...both ways its a loss-loss situation..
wat can a person do to have a healthy work life relationship and simultaneously live happily with satisfaction?

Saif said...

@ Manmeet
Finally, one of students has made a comment on my blog :D

Well, in the scenario that you're talking about, I'd say that the best thing could be to be as professional as possible. And this is where good interpersonal skills come into play. Such a situation can be very frustrating and losing your calm will only harm your own work and mental peace. The person here should just focus on his/her and not let the situation take over his/her mind.
I won't say that opting out will be a loss-situation. The person can keep on working and simultaneously keep looking to work at other places. Once he/she gets a better job, the person can very easily leave that job (opt out).
Also, if an employee doesn't have a good relationship with the boss then if he/she has a healthy relationship with other co-workers then that will also help to calm down and get some social support. If the same is with a few other co-workers then again having good relations with others (apart from the co-workers with whom the relationship is not cordial) will prove to be helpful.

Nurseries in UAE said...

An interesting post and somewhat captivating points of view shared by Sidhu in the comments section above.

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