The Finance Leader Podcast

083: Key Business Social Skills

April 26, 2022 Stephen McLain Season 10 Episode 3
The Finance Leader Podcast
083: Key Business Social Skills
Show Notes Transcript

Did you know that business social skills are equally important as your technical and other soft skills? How you act socially can determine your next opportunity. How you conduct yourself in a public situation such as a meeting or at an after-work event or even on a project team can bring you closer or take you away from advancing in your career. How do you navigate these often-complicated situations? Be aware that your actions, facial expressions and even the very words you choose can make others pass judgment on your favorability.
Episode outline:

  1. Be respectful of others,
  2. Reading the room,
  3. Let’s talk about a few key social skills: Authenticity, Approachability, Be present, Empathy, and Collaboration, and
  4. Refine and improve your executive presence.

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Stephen McLain:

Did you know that business social skills are equally important as your technical and other soft skills? How you act socially can determine your next opportunity. How you conduct yourself in a public situation, such as a meeting or at an after work event, or even on a project team can bring you closer, or take you away from advancing in your career. How do you navigate these often complicated situations? Be aware that your actions, facial expressions, and even the very words you choose can make others pass judgment on your favorite ability? Even choosing to say nothing and doing nothing can create an impression that is not favorable. Please enjoy the episode. Welcome to the finance leader podcast where leadership is bigger than the numbers. I am your host, Stephen McLean. This is the podcast for developing leaders in finance and accounting. Please consider following me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. My usernames and the links are in this episode's show notes. And also, please join the Facebook group I have for this podcast community. Thank you. This is episode number 83. And I will be talking about key business social skills that we need to develop and I will highlight the following topics. Number one, be respectful of others. Number two, reading the room. Number three, let's talk about a few key social skills like authenticity, approachability, be present empathy and collaboration. And four, refine and improve your executive presence, comedian and actor Bob Newhart said for some reason, comedians are still children, the social skills somehow never reach us. So we say exactly what we think without weighing the results. A quick reminder, have you been earning your CPE this year, I don't want you to wait until December before you realize that you need 20 More CPMs. And it's also time to close out the year in the month plus you have the holidays to deal with. So let's schedule some CPE earnings each month, so you knock them out consistently over the year. And don't forget to update your individual development plan is 2022. And businesses are still trying to make a full comeback to the office. There are many opinions about what the future of work will be, and how office workers will respond to how companies will do it. But I do believe we will see more in office interactions going forward, whether that is 100% Everyone is back or a hybrid option. But we will see more and more coming back to the office. So it's time to dust off how we interact personally in the office. We have learned acceptable behavior while working from home, and how we conduct video calls and messaging. So we can now relearn how to interact in person. Again, we have to review how to respect each other's space. We even have to learn how to present ourselves in public, how we dress, our manners, our approach to people, we have to learn the soft skills all over again, including time management, since driving will become a factor once again. Our social skills can be just as important as our technical skills, how we interact with others, and how we treat each person can have an important impact on our work relationships. Our social skills involve everything we do from the words we choose our facial expressions, how we respond to questions, how we respond to criticism, and how well is our overall public behavior. This may lead people to create judgments in their minds. Are we annoying? Are we friendly? Are we professional? Do we ask the wrong questions at the wrong time? Have you ever been in a meeting when someone was getting on your nerves by the questions they were asking or the attitude they had? If that is consistent, then you will want to avoid working with and socializing with that person. And that that makes sense. Who wants to be around that person? Here's another question. Can you read the room? Do you know the tone of a meeting or the atmosphere amongst a group of people just talking casually. The tone determines what is generally acceptable regarding how you speak and what you may say. You have to know how to read the room so you can fit along with the conversations or the process that is taking place. If you lose sync with the room, then you may lose credibility with those you work with. Another important part of this is acknowledging and respecting boundaries. Some people will blow right past a boundary without ever thinking about it. We all probably have done it by accident before but there are some who wouldn't ignore it completely. Boundaries are essential to common etiquette and basic respect. To help yourself advance, you must make others feel comfortable and be comfortable around you. The key is self awareness of your thoughts, your actions and your words, than committing to yourself to improve how you interact every day. Otherwise, it may affect your future in that company. As finance and accounting professionals, we live with the numbers every day, and we will interact with non numbers people all the time, who will not share our passion, and may require additional and more simplistic explanations of what is happening financially, or something special within the metrics that we analyze, work to make a more fruitful and worthy connection that produces a positive interaction. It will take patience and understanding from us for sure. Now, let's talk about the impact of key business social skills. Number one, be respectful of others, at the core of navigating the many layers of social interaction is respecting others. And we do that first by respecting boundaries. There are many boundaries in life, we should respect a person's space and their time, but also their privacy. Should we mention a private matter at a public gathering? Absolutely not. As companies are returning to the office, we need to remember to respect our co workers, we may get a little excited to see someone on person instead of on a video chat. But that doesn't give us permission to forget rules of conduct, or basic respect or basic etiquette. Basic respect is about treating people fairly treating people with dignity and kindness no matter what the situation is. Number two, do you know how to read the room. Reading the room is about knowing what is going on around you. Like the tone of the discussion and the topics being discussed. We should stay on topic, and we must be respectful of others. As we discussed a few moments ago, can you pick up on nonverbal cues that can tell you what the tone of the situation is? Facial expressions and body language can tell us a lot. It can help us understand where the conversation is going, and how to navigate it. You have successfully read the room when your own conversation, tone and reactions match those who are around you. We should try not to be too outside the lines on that. And especially important is to know not to engage in inappropriate or uncomfortable topics. Learn to Read the room so you can navigate just about any social setting going forward. Number three, let's talk briefly about a few key social skills. Authenticity. This is about being yourself and not pretending to be someone or something you are not Do you really care about your team? Or are you pretending to so you can use them to advance your career, people will know. Authenticity can be complicated, because sometimes people feel like they cannot be themselves at work. But I am asking that when we say we care about people, I want you to mean it and follow through so you don't just pay lip service to a slogan. caring for others requires authenticity, and requires that you truly mean it. approachability? Are people afraid to go to you for help, or guidance or to report bad news. When you're having a conversation with someone. Do you actually focus and listen with purpose? And are you ready to explore different ideas that may be something different you're not used to? Are you open to thinking differently, be present, really be where you are and focus in the moment enjoy and be present with your teammates. I tend to be more future oriented. So this is a great topic for me to explore. Also, be mindful for what is happening around you right now and live it be present in the moment so that you show your team that you are paying attention to them. Empathy? Do you generally understand what your teammates are dealing with both at work and at a personal level? We often say we do. But do we act on it? Can you really comprehend someone else's pain or difficulty? Also, when we say family is number one, do we mean it? Are we only focused on how someone's personal situation will affect it projects timeline or the completion of some other task? Collaboration? This is one of my favorite skills because it is about solving something together. Can you work as a team to solve a problem? Can you put together all of your social skills in one package so you can effectively work together to complete a project or solve a problem? When we collaborate? We need to deal with people in a close way, especially if a deadline is looming. Collaborating requires being open minded and empathetic to the styles and skills of others. This is the list that I briefly described authenticity approachability be present empathy and collaboration, continue to improve your ability within each one. Number four, refine and improve your executive presence. Ultimately, we need to strive to develop our executive presence. Because this gives others confidence that we can actually lead. It's often a psychological phenomenon, where we look to be a leader in the eyes of others, people will want to follow you because of your approach, your confidence, your skills, and how you treat them. I have talked about executive presence before in Episode 19. So few have not listened to that episode before. Please give that a listen. When you get a chance, we should all be striving to improve our executive presence. We want to give our team a reason to be confident in our abilities. We also want to exhibit leadership to senior leaders we work with. So we can also be given great opportunities to excel our social skills matter, and they can help us to be accepted as a productive member of the team or get us shunned, which means people may avoid you. And when people are avoiding you, you may not get the opportunities to develop and to advance, we must treat our social skill development. As much as we grow our technical skills, and our other soft skills. It's important, so invest time to improve. Now for action today, I have a question to ask first. Do you have the ability to understand what is happening around you? Some people definitely don't have that skill. If you learn to pick up on nonverbal cues, you will become more acutely aware of the tone of any social gathering or meeting. This often comes down to self awareness, and being aware of those around you. If you have trouble with this practice paying attention in a conversation. be deliberate about understanding facial expressions, and how words are chosen. We all need some improvement in this area. So keep working at don't forget to grab my free guide for you called the leadership growth blueprint for finance and accounting managers. Are you a finance or accounting professional, who is also leading people, but have questions about how to lead more effectively. I know you are expected to be the technical expert in our field. Learning leadership can set you apart from your peers, which can then lead you to more opportunities. In the free guide. I talked about three leadership areas communication, team development, and empowerment. Plus a few recommendations around challenges with the financial systems you are using to complete your work. The link to this free guide is in the post or the bio. You can also go to Finance leader To download it. Please use the guide to help you with a few leadership wins today. Thank you. Today I talked about key business social skills we need to develop and to be mindful of and I highlighted the following points. Number one, be respectful of others. Number two, reading the room. Number three, let's talk about a few key social skills. And four, refine and improve your executive presence. Our social skills really do allow us to build strong relationships in the workplace, while being respectful at the same time. It's important to our growth in our advancement to be viewed as socially balanced, respectful, authentic, and caring. We can be hard working while also positively engaging with our team, our peers and everyone else around us practice basic etiquette be mindful of others and try to be more self aware. As you navigate a vast array of social interactions. We deal with non numbers people who may need us to be more patient and understanding to bridge communication gaps. So in the long term, we can build strong relationships in our workplace. And the biggest and greatest goal of all to improve are positive interactions that will mark us as an effective leader, which then can lead to more opportunities to excel and advance in our career. Next week, we'll be talking about earning a graduate degree and how that is important to your finance and accounting career. I hope you enjoyed the finance leader podcast I am dedicated to helping you grow your leadership skills, to change your mindset and to clarify your goals so you advance your career. You can find this episode wherever you listen to podcast. If this episode helped you today, please share it with others and leave a quick review so that others may find the podcast. Until next time, you can check out more resources at finance leader and sign up for my weekly updates so you don't miss an episode of the show. And now go lead your team and I'll see you next time. Thank you