We see it and live it every day! Technology has taken over our world connecting us to people, information, and ideas we could only have dreamed about 20 years ago! And while it has changed the work we do and the way it is accomplished, it has done so at the expense of some very basic and necessary professional skills needed to ensure that businesses deliver not only the goods, but the complete customer experience necessary to create profitable partnerships. Here are the top 5 skills individuals in any technology driven organization must master if they are to stick around for the long haul:
1. Fundamental Communication Skills
We all communicate every day. To our families, co-workers, and maybe customers. However, who would deny we’ve lost sight of the art of communicating in our technological world. This is so much more than just the words that come out of our mouths or fly from our fingertips. Successful individuals have come to realize this also includes creating a culture (even down to the individual level) where open and honest communication is expected, welcomed, and valued, as well as mastering the craft of developing an effective message by choosing the right words and mediums to use at the right moment.
2. Emotional Intelligence
As humans we are inundated with emotions every day. For every stimulus we encounter in our professional or personal lives we elicit an emotional response. Emotional Intelligence is the skill of recognizing those emotions as they occur and effectively managing them and their effect on us to achieve the best possible outcome. Studies have shown that individuals who have a high level of emotional intelligence display greater mental health, job performance, and leadership skills, all of which are key components in successful business relationships.
3. Presentation/Public Speaking Skills
While technology has created many more avenues for us to interact with each other, it has also created a very disconnected, and at times, impersonal society. More and more customers and peers are desiring for the “human touch” of face to face communication. They want to see who they are dealing with and gain the full message that can only come with face to face interactions. To do this individuals must continue to develop good, old-fashioned public speaking skills. While most of us will never be required to get up in front of a room of hundreds or thousands of people, we should expect that we will be required to speak in front of 5-15 people at some point in our professional lives. Will need to handle this without passing out from fear.
4. Conflict Management
Many people avoid conflict like the plague. They are afraid of getting into knock-down, drag-out arguments they inevitably believe will lead to hurt feelings, impacted relationships, and quite possibly retaliation. But conflict is simply only a situation where your concerns or desires – the things we care about – differ from the person we are communicating with. By understanding the basic types of responses to conflict, we are able to use our communication, emotional intelligence, and speaking skills to effectively diffuse the situation and create stronger, long-term relationships.
5. Coaching Skills
Once we have built strengths in the previous four skills mentioned, we can then start to work on how we coach others to help us accomplish mutual goals. Coaching is not about control and command. It is the ability to help others see the value in supporting your ideas and plans and allowing them to take ownership of their deliverables. Teams with effective coaches not only see great bottom line results, but they also build their talent to its fullest potential thus allowing them to continue to reach for loftier goals.
American futurist, Alvin Toffler, summed all of this up best when he said, “As our technical powers increase, the side effects and potential hazards also escalate.” I like to think he was pining over the loss of these professional skills in today’s business world.