4 People Skills Millennials Need To Succeed

Millennials now make up the largest segment of the workforce. Millennials have tremendous technical skills in all fields. It can come as a shock, however, to discover that people skills matter more than technical skills in the workplace. Here are 4 people skills Millennials need to succeed. 

People skills can make the difference between who advances and who doesn’t. Take two programmers, sales representatives, pastors, or graphic designers, each with similar technical skills to do their jobs. But one has better people skills. Who do you think is going to be assigned to a special project or promoted?

Technical skills make you special as long as there is no one else around you with those same skills. When you are surrounded by peers with similar technical skills, it’s your people skills that make you stand out.

4 People Skills Millennials Need To Succeed

Your ability to succeed is more than what you know or how talented you are at certain tasks.

Humans are relational. How we communicate, collaborate, and build relationships matter. Your people skills announce to those around you whether or not you can be trusted with more. Your judgement and emotional intelligence are communicated each time you engage with others.

Here are 4 people skills Millennials need to succeed. By the way, it’s not just Millennials who need these, we all do.

  1. Choose face-to-face over digital communication. Perhaps the most critical “people” skill is how you present yourself in one-one-one or group conversations. Many Millennials would rather send a text than pick up the phone or walk down the hall. Excellent verbal and non-verbal communication abilities stand out. Much of business happens as people work together. It’s essential that you gain the ability to communicate clearly in ways that both engage others and engenders trust.
  2. Be interested, not interesting. Here’s one of life’s little ironies: we all love to talk about ourselves, but we don’t like those who do. If you want to impress and build relationships be interested in others. Ask questions, listen, and let them talk. People will love you for it. When you try to let people know how interesting you are or what you know, you shift the conversation from others to yourself. After listening, you’ll often be invited to share. At this point, the other person is open to what you’ve got to say.
  3. Your attitude communicates. It’s easy to be smug when you have excellent education and superior technology skills. The workplace needs your smarts, but doesn’t need a condescending attitude. (Yes, I realize other generations have their own judgements. And they should also change.) You have a lot to contribute. You should be heard. What are your attitudes toward the people around you? Your attitudes don’t need words to communicate. Make sure you convey to all around you, “I respect you. Let’s learn from each other.”
  4. Under-promise and over-deliver. We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, others judge us by what we actually do. Your confidence and enthusiasm will get you the job, project, or assignment. Now make sure you deliver. The work you do should go beyond expectations – without excuses. Think like a Marine, “No excuse, Sir!” Once you’ve got the assignment, you need to deliver results, not more confidence, intentions, or enthusiasm. Be the person who can be relied on to gets things done.

Get A Mentor

Some companies provide mentors for each new hire. If yours didn’t, then find one. Or if you’ve been around for a while, be one for somebody else. Sit down together and discuss what you need. Be open and share. Ask for feedback.

Managers may need to fill this mentor role. Managers shouldn’t assume the person will know office social etiquette and corporate culture. Give on-the-spot feedback, rather than waiting for a review. You might cover:

  • Acceptable email etiquette.
  • How to engage productively in meetings.
  • Face-to-face communication, including eye contact and other non-verbals.
  • Boundaries on sharing personal information in the work environment.
  • Feedback on assignments and deliverables.

Everyone needs on-going improvement in their skills. Like a doctor, you must continually add to your technical skills. In the same way, you can’t stop improving your people skills. These intangible skills don’t come with certificates, but they often directly link to your success.

Question: What people skills have you found to be essential? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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