For IT pros, success isn’t just found in the day-to-day technical challenges you solve. It’s also used to communicate positively with those around you, which isn’t always easy when you spend most of your time behind a computer. Learning a few key people skills will be what carries you to the next level in your career.
IT pros must deal with customer service too, and you should know that it takes approximately 12 good experiences to make up for one bad one. You’d hate to be the cause of that customer’s grievance, which could lose your company more money and reputation than you might realize. As an IT pro, you have a responsibility to develop some of the top skills required for dealing with people and businesses on a daily basis.
1. Positive Language
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Take on a glass half full perspective”? There are two ways to look at a partially filled glass. Those with more positive demeanors would say the glass is half full, while those with negative attitudes would say it’s half empty.
Consider your language and change a few words here and there to make your responses more positive. Instead of saying, “That timeframe is impossible,” try saying, “My team will present the best possible solution in that timeframe.” The difference is tangible, and it can significantly alter your relationships with your team members and collaborators.
2. Listening and Understanding
Shut off your brain for a few moments and listen to what others are telling you. In addition, make sure you understand by asking questions and formulating a plan as the words come to you. Take notes to help you remember, and make affirmative statements every now and then to let the speaker know you’re listening.
If you’re good at your job, you’ll likely be put in charge of a project at some point. Learning the value and art of delegating will be a lifesaver. It’s also important to recognize the difference between being a leader and being a tyrant. Your goal should be to work alongside team members and use constructive criticism rather than micromanaging their work.
Whether you’re planning on doing freelance work or you’re part of a corporation that does contract work, being able to negotiate will keep you from getting the raw end of the deal. Learn how to spot a good deal when you see one and use coaxing language to bring less respectable deals to a more reasonable level.
Reading, writing, speaking clearly, making phone calls, drafting emails, and staying on top of all of these forms of communication aren’t easy skills, but they’re essential in today’s world. IT pros are expected to wear more than one hat, and you’ll likely be responsible for more communication than you may realize. If the communication is not clear, you’ll be held accountable.
6. Team Player
IT work is often a very isolated practice, but there will be plenty of times when you’ll need to work with others, and you must play nicely. Forging relationships with your team members, not wasting time, understanding how to handle constructive criticism, and sharing your knowledge with others are all exceptional ways to show your aptitude in team environments.
7. Critical Thinking
One great thing about IT is that everything is very black and white. However, when dealing with co-workers and other life situations, there are a lot of gray areas. Being able to carefully consider both sides of an issue and come up with a solution everyone is comfortable with will help make your IT skills even stronger.