Essential Social Skills You Need to Advance Your Career

Essential Social Skills You Need to Advance Your Career was originally published on Vault.

Having the right social skills is key to succeeding in both remote and in-person office environments. Below are the six most important social skills you’ll need to continue to advance your career.

1. Communication

Few social skills are as important as effective communication. No matter which industry and role you work in, it’s highly important that you learn how to write well, speak clearly, and actively listen. Knowing how to read body language and facial expressions is also important (in person or in virtual environments). This helps you to interpret subtle communication cues like eye contact and hand gestures, allowing for much smoother and more productive conversations. Effectively communicating with colleagues also helps build long-term business relationships and fosters an environment of collaboration and trust, which is essential for professional success.

2. Empathy

This skill represents your ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and view situations from different perspectives. Empathy can help you solve many work-related challenges and obstacles for remote and hybrid workers. For example, empathy can help you deal with remote workers’ struggles with anxiety and isolation, often cited as the most frustrating remote-work issue. Having empathy is also tied to conflict resolution (more on that below) as it helps you resolve conflicts and build strong relationships with coworkers. Additionally, it makes it easier to engage in productive conversations and come to mutually beneficial decisions.

3. Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution involves listening to both sides of an issue and empathizing with each side’s position and feelings. The ultimate goal of this skill is to help resolve conflicts quickly with minimal damage to the relationships between parties. As one might imagine, this skill is essential for team leaders and employees tasked with managing others. With this skill, you can devise creative solutions that consider both parties’ concerns and defuse the conflict. Additionally, knowing how to handle difficult conversations and speak assertively when needed is essential for keeping a conflict from escalating.

4. Positivity

Positivity is indeed a skill (that can be learned). Positivity can be very contagious and essential for creating a welcoming workplace atmosphere. The skill helps reduce stress in others, increases enthusiasm, and fosters collaboration. Having a positive attitude is also key to maintaining relationships with colleagues. Positive employees are often seen as great assets to their teams. Positivity also helps you to stay calm and composed under pressure, making it easier to thrive and survive in competitive environments.

5. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is essential for managing employees and keeping workplace environments congenial and collaborative. In most cases, emotional intelligence is necessary for leadership and management positions, as high emotional intelligence represents your ability to understand and control your emotions as well as the emotions of others. It also involves recognizing how emotions affect decision-making, productivity, and relationships.

6. Authenticity      

Being authentic allows you to be honest and open with your coworkers, creating a safe and constructive environment for everyone. For management and leadership positions, authenticity can be essential to developing trust, engagement, and inspiration in the workplace. Authenticity also allows for better communication and understanding between colleagues, increasing the likelihood that colleagues are more straightforward with each other—which in turn helps foster mutual respect, making it easier for teams to work together.

Erik Bergman co-founded Catena Media and helped grow it to more than 300 employees and a $200 million valuation before stepping away to start, an iGaming organization that donates 100 percent of its profits to environmental charities. In addition to running a successful online business, Erik hosts the Becoming Great podcast, shares entrepreneurship tips with his more than 1 million social media followers, and contributes to sites like, Business Insider, Foundr, and Forbes.