IT professionals and technologists spend the majority of their time working with software or applications. Time is spent focusing on the skill sets needed to build, implement, maintain, and configure various systems or applications within organizations in order to have a cohesive and functionally operating infrastructure.
At times, however, it’s necessary to step away from the daily realm of “doing” all of the time. As odd as it may seem, it takes certain tools for successful human interaction, and while they seem like skills taught during childhood, they can sometimes be put on the back burner when focusing on the extensive technical or hard skills you spend perfecting day-in and day-out.
To improve your ability to be a better colleague and teammate, we’ve put together a list of a few skill sets that are necessary outside of those learned technical skill sets.
It’s no surprise technical IT professionals know certain complex concepts like the back of their hands. Imagine being asked to take that concept and put it into layman’s terms for anyone else in the company to understand. The challenge is clear communication. Your goal is to explain and provide an explanation that doesn’t patronize anyone but still gives the right details to help an individual understand your role and how it interacts with what they do in their job. Effective communication leads to better collaboration.
Collaboration is the hallmark of teamwork. Just think of a team as a group of experts in their fields where skills and talent are endless. Remind yourself that in a team environment varying skill sets were put together for a reason: to build something specific to meet a business need. Leaving egos at the door means you are open to learning from each other and accomplishing anything and everything!
Public speaking, whether to your peers or a larger audience, doesn’t come easy to everyone. It’s a skill that needs to be cultivated over time. When faced with a presentation opportunity, remember that you are expert in what you are presenting, so speak with confidence and coherence about the topic. It provides credibility because you are the IT expert in your field.
Networking with Peers
The best way to build connections and foster future collaboration is to network. Much like public speaking, it’s not easy for everyone. However, participating in user groups or going to events focused around your field is a great way to gain knowledge while also meeting colleagues in your field. Introduce yourself, and see what you can learn from someone to take back to the office.
So much of our daily lives at work is how we perceive the environment around us. Negativity spreads like wildfire and can create a toxic work environment. The remedy for this problem is to be a part of the solution. Instead of trafficking in negativity or toxic behavior, offer to help someone instead of cutting them down for lack of knowledge. Humility goes a long way and helps foster community.
This is a skill set that is preached from a young age, but it reaches critical mass in your professional life. You learn more than you can imagine by listening, which means you are hearing a customer’s problem. From there, you can provide a solution based on what they indicated they needed instead of what you think they need. You are responding to how they lead the conversation but actively listening for underlying issues. Remember the expression “reading between the lines”? The key here is to listen between the lines in order to help resolve issues.
These are just a few of the skill sets that are important to any role in the world of IT and are great foundational skills for finding balance in your technical role. Hot topics like Cybersecurity, the Cloud, and DevOps are heavily present or on their way into being part of your company strategy. Soft Skills will be key in communicating hot topic strategies for a smooth transition and understanding across the organization.
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