12 Most Beneficial People-Skills to Hit the Bullseye When You Have No Power
Success in companies requires working across the organization in collaboration with others throughout the globe. Purely hierarchical approaches continue to erode. As a result, staff must often hit the bullseye without the power or authority to call the shots.
New grads entering the workforce in search of the hidden rules, seasoned professional grappling with the evolving non-hierarchical approach, and the growing contractor population suddenly thrust into new organizations — you all find yourselves in this position.
Fear not. You can hit the bullseye without authority or power if you embrace and hone these 12 most beneficial people skills.
As The People-Skills Coach™, I have used these skills to quickly connect with clients and hit the bullseye for 23 years. The two decades of learning and practice will empower you to do the same in your daily work and long term career.
1. Adapting to personality type, generation, and culture
To accomplish goals and hit the bulls-eye with other people, turn the obstacles of diversity into advantages. Highly successful people are great at spotting differences in people and turning personality differences into teamwork. They turn generational gaps into bridges. They convert cultural divides into global solutions.
Whether you are working with a new boss, acting as a meeting facilitator, or working on a project team, your willingness and ability to understand and adapt to others gives you great influence in reaching the desired goal. If you don’t connect, how will you all hit the mark?
2. Communicate with honesty not bluntness
Bluntness is a privilege afforded you by the listener. When you assume the privilege of bluntness, you leave a scar on you and them. It paints you as an obnoxious fool with no emotional intelligence — and no real power. Diplomatic honesty, on the other hand, shows your respect for others’ views and highlights your ability to work with people to hit the bullseye.
Being blunt (without permission) leaves a scar; being honest, a lasting memory. For more on how to do this: 7 Steps From Brutally Blunt to Helpfully Honest.
3. Confident and humble
Confidence and humility are not opposites. They are partners for success in collaborative settings. Being confident of your talent and abilities allows others to easily tap you as a resource. Being humble enough to honor other opinions and talents allows you to work well on and with high performance teams. This balance spurs you to be grateful for applause and to applaud others as well.
Be confident in your knowledge and humble in delivering it. Leave arrogance by the wayside and succeed with others.
4. Questioning not threatening
Asking great questions delivers much to any endeavor. It clarifies assumptions, opens discussion, unearths possibilities, prevents blind siding, fuels discovery, facilitates conflict resolution, feeds learning, and fosters continuous improvement.
If you can ask great questions without threatening others, insulting their logic and intelligence, or embarrassing their positions, you earn trust and admiration for your contribution. Abandon questions like don’t you think and replace them with open-ended (how, what, where…) questions that produce true dialogue.
5. Realistic optimism
As I work with diverse corporate teams, I am surprised that the optimists and pessimists continue to debate which is better. Pessimists believe that optimists have their heads in the clouds and ignore the truth. Optimists believe that pessimists are uninspired change resistant complainers who block everyone from the bullseye. Both miss the mark.
If you operate with realistic optimism you inspire everyone while identifying the challenges to minimize risk and increase success.
To explore this further: Career Success: Optimism & Realism to Be The One.
6. Thick skin & warm heart
To hit the bullseye with others, your ideas may take a few hits along the way. Employees who get offended when their ideas aren’t used become a liability to momentum. If you have a thick skin when taking feedback and a warm revenge-free heart in contributing, you establish a balanced reputation. It will be clear that you are a conduit to success.
7. Thirst for knowledge and evolution
Working today demands the ability to deal with change. How many projects are axed when higher goals change? What is your reaction? Resistant and negative? Or hopeful?
If you see each day as a fountain of learning and a chance to evolve, you survive many reorganizations and reductions in staffing. I witnessed one scientist survive seven of these events because, as management said, “We can put her in many departments and she adapts and hits the mark.” Message: Be versatile, not comfortable.
8. Focus on results
There’s magic in focusing on results. It enables all to sharply hit the bullseye because it filters out office politics, redirects tangents, moves past slights, and helps all to sustain momentum. As long as the focus doesn’t blind you to others’ opinions and contributions, it is a beneficial skill!
9. Giving before taking
When you have no official power or authority, coming on too strong with questions or ideas reduces your credibility. When you first meet others, offer your gratitude for the chance to work with others and commitment to listening and contributing. It sets the tone of collaboration.
Give commitment before assuming trust. Give applause before taking it. Give the extra effort before asking for official responsibility. You establish your ability to hit the bullseye with others.
10. Taking small steps to big dreams
High achievers often have big dreams. Not all take the myriad of small steps to make those dreams a reality. If you are inspired to set big goals and work hard toward achieving them, your can-do reputation will spread fast and wide. You will be seen as someone who can help set the bulls-eye as well as hit the mark even from the weeds.
11. Finding the story to effect change
Hitting the bullseye more often than not requires effecting change along the way. If you don’t have the power to issue mandates, unearthing the story is the pathway to success. Everyone you must work with has a story, a viewpoint, which will either block or open the path to the bullseye.
Even official leaders must often influence other teams over whom they have no authority. One of my clients was tapped for a senior leadership position because (as was said to her) “you are able to find the story to bring about change”. Her questions, listening, discussion, and belief in others’ talents have produced many changes — and hit the mark.
12. Open-minded not indecisive
Achieving the goal and hitting the bullseye with others requires one belief — that open-mindedness is not the same as indecisiveness. If you believe it, you will be able to respond appropriately when non-team players confuse the two and wrongly accuse. You will be able to reconsider your position with relevant developments. You will shine in considering all the possibilities to decisively hit the bullseye with others — in the time frame needed.
Neither narrow-minded snap judgments nor the not-enough-data syndrome hit the bullseye. Consider all views and be able to offer an informed opinion sooner than later.
Develop these 12 most beneficial people-skills to be valuable in a changing workplace. They make you highly desirable when ad hoc teams are formed. They catch the eye of those deciding on succession planning. These people-skills hone your long term career portfolio for future leadership positions.
This list is also a great reservoir of specifics for your resume and cover letter. Phrases like excellent communication skills say little about your strengths. Giving examples that illustrate the 12 points above sets you apart. They state that you can break down obstacles and move all toward the bullseye.
Interestingly enough, these skills have a surprise bonus for you. As certain environments require more of some skills than others, using them will help you decide what career setting you prefer. After all, it is your life. Find what’s right for you.
Featured image courtesy of Bogdan Suditu via Creative Commons License.