Every person is different. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to personal traits and characteristics. You as well as millions of others may hold the same professional qualifications, however, it’s your personal traits or “soft skills” that set you apart from the crowd. Every organization has a list of soft skills that they want their employees to possess – good communication skills, the ability to be a team player, good work ethics, time management skills, etc. These skills are so clichéd and hackneyed that everyone puts them on their resumes without even knowing what they really mean.
If you really want to stand out from the rest, then you need to not only possess a few good soft skills, but also customize them according to the policies and work environment of your organization. Doing this is the key to surviving and thriving at any job. To do this, you need to:
- Observe: Use your first few days to see how things are being done. Just don’t use your eyes and ears. Trust your instincts as well to read and understand your new workplace. Learn to read the moods of your boss and collegues.
- Adjust: Once you understand how your workplace “works”, you should adjust your approach to situations, within reason. There’s no harm in making a few adjustments to your way of doing things if it will allow you to get your job done and get along with co-workers. One word of caution – don’t adjust too much. You were hired because of your unique talents and part of those talents revolve around your personality. Becoming too much like others will reduce your uniquness and actually make it harder to get ahead.
- Adhere: There are some office norms that must be adhered too. This may be the style of dress required, meeting schedules, work hours or ways you interact with senior management. Whatever these norms turn out to be, it’s best to adhere to them before trying to change them. There is usually a long and sorrid histroy behind office norms and challenging those right away will only alienate you from your co-workers.
It’s not hard to change the way you communicate and interact with your colleagues based on the nature of your workplace; it’s not difficult to become a team player if you need to go back to being part of a team instead of its leader; and it’s not impossible to give yourself a makeover when it comes to using your soft skills to impress your new employer and co-workers.
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