4 Ways To Improve The Quality Of Your Work (Life)
Thu 22 Apr 2021
By John Nayler
It might come as no surprise to a lot of people out there, but the most commonly requested skills from employers are related to communication and being a team player.
The recent report from Burning Glass Technologies analysis of job ads confirmed it. In order, the preferred skills are:
2. Relationship Building
3. Team Work
Quality of communication and team play is unquestionably more important in a post-Covid world, with the tone set of a new era with greater numbers of people working from home, or at least, distributed more widely. With fewer days in the office resulting in more communication and organisational work being done by phone and video conferences, communication and team play are critical. It does not just stop inside the business, either. Every interaction with clients, suppliers, regulators, and others are less likely to happen in person.
It has been said that big changes happen suddenly, and depending on your framing of time, the Covid-19 pandemic has bought about momentous change.
So how do you improve yourself to be part of the new post-Covid world?
1. Improve Your Communication Skills
Whether it's a communication course, brushing up on your grammar, or learning another language, first and foremost you need to be more empathetic and make yourself better able to interact with others. Let's summarise any course on communication for you. "Shut up and listen, long and hard, more than you can bear. Sit on your emotions and judgements. Speak carefully and concisely - keep it short. Use anecdotes." There, I think that is most of it. This requires effort, yes, but the rewards will be great as you become the best in your organisation at understanding others and get recognised for your superior skills.
2. Think About The Way That You Sound On The Phone Or Appear On Camera
With less in-person body language, people you interact with online are going to rely more on what they see and hear over a digital connection. Expensive noise-cancelling headsets that relay your voice can be a big help here, along with setting the webcam at the right position and thinking about the styling of your work-from-home office backdrop (I am sure that you have seen both good and bad examples of this across the media since the pandemic arrived).
3. Support Those Around You
Want a hack for being better at relationships and teamwork? Simple: offer to do things for others. I am not sure how that works for you, but my favourite dinner party example is this. Offer to help in the kitchen after dinner. The host will 99% of the time refuse your help and insist that you stay at the table and enjoy your wine. There, instant kudos. If you want to push the envelope even further, insist on helping... a little more.
Last and not least in this list, whether you are in-person, on the phone, or on a video call, smiling lets the other person know that you are in a happy frame of mind, easy to deal with, and welcome the communication you are involved in. If you want to up the ante, work on injecting appropriate humour into conversation - you can learn about the strategic use of humour at work by reading the likes of "Humour, Seriously, Why Humour Is A Superpower At Work And In Life", (Aaker, Bagdonas)
The list goes on and on, as does the learning, but if you are looking for an easy leg up at work or in life generally, communication, quality of relationships and team play are key.