Soft Skills

  • Anonymouse

    SSC Eights!

    Points: 915

    umailedit (7/18/2008)


    I think that the best 'soft' skills teacher is the book 'How to win friends and influence people' by Dale Carnegie. This book should be read once a year. Also for speaking, there are Dale Carnegie courses and books for public speaking.

    Thank you - this is the best book I've ever read. Like you said, I try to re-read it every so often. The first time I read it, I went into work and experimented with some of what Carnegie said. He's right - people think you are the best conversationalist when you never say a word!!!

  • tsaftalov

    SSC Rookie

    Points: 35

    I was appalled and infuriated when my manager suggested that I should improve my communication skills. He sent me to a community college course called "Mastering you people skills". After taking this course and doing some research, I learned about the term "emotional intelligence" and realized that I don't have any. Bought a book "Communications for the dummies",of course, and some tapes. Took emotional intelligence 101 (online of course) offered by our "mother" company.

    After getting thru the basics started to observe and summarize the behavior patterns of my fellow software developers. Talked to some HR people and realized - we are different!!!!! They cannot me like me and I cannot be like them. However, we all need to get along and, especially, learn how to handle the conflicts. I wish I learned about it long time ago. Live and learn. I am woman, 50+ by the way, if you are wondering, and I am a queen of nerds.

  • Jack Corbett

    SSC Guru

    Points: 184381

    I would say that I do a combination of learning through training and experience with an emphasis on experience. People who know me would find this hard to believe, but I have been offered a couple of jobs because I came across as having good people skills when I interviewed. It has also helped me that I my education was in teaching and I have had opportunities through church involvement to speak in front of people. The main thing for me has been being able to take constructive criticism from my wife. She has very good soft skills and I have picked up little things like instead of saying "I know the right way to do it", you would say, "I know a better way". It doesn't seem like much, but it does work.

    Jack Corbett
    Consultant - Straight Path Solutions
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  • mcorrea

    Valued Member

    Points: 69

    Discussions about the 'truth' tend to get sensitive especially if one practices the use of truths in one's daily work. These discussions can also get heated when different personalities and egos get in the way.

    The key is whether or not we choose to use tact.

    Here's a simple lesson in sociology and communication I learned many years ago. Suppose you were asked to describe the appearance of a particular stranger. Using tact, you could describe this person as having, "a look that makes time stand still."

    Conversely, the description of the same person, sans tact, would go like this - "Your face can stop a clock!"

    Any questions? 🙂

  • Adam Angelini

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8538

    Thanks for all the feedback so far. There have been some great suggestions, as well as some humorous ones. I appreciate all of them.

  • Joshua Jones

    Old Hand

    Points: 396

    For me the soft skills came from being a customer service professional (conference call operator), and working my way all the way up to Assistant Director of the department. After going through managing customer expectations, to managing customer AND employee expectations, my "soft skills" were pretty finely honed. When I decided to move into IT, I was welcomed because the expectation was that they could teach me/send me to school for IT knowledge, but the skills necessary to work with non-IT people were already in place. It has made my life as an IT professional much easier.

    For the record, as painful as some consider it, I do believe in the Dale Carnegie types of classes/books, particularly for those people that realize they need some guidance in this area. That will help with communication skills.

    However, one of the skills that hasn't really been mentioned here so far is the ability to present, or speak in public. I know a lot of IT folks who are fine with communicating one on one, or even with small groups, but put them in front of 50 technical people at a large departmental meeting to give a technical update on their project, and they can barely speak (if you can even get them to stand up). This is why managers tend to encourage employees to start giving presentations at smaller meetings, and maybe even speaking at a local user group meetings, which can be very helpful (disclaimer: I help run our local SQL Server UG, and am a huge proponent of UGs in general). And while you may never intend to pursue a career in public speaking, being able to give knowledgeable presentations in large group settings is a valuable skill.

    Joshua Jones
    Director, Global Database Services
    PGi

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 396692

    This reminds me of when i started at my current company. I started the same day as another guy in my group. He was considered the people person/manager in the making type and I was the barely tolerable misanthrope needed for his technical abilities (not much has changed). One day a few weeks into the job I sent an email to a distribution list and the email had a bit of zing to it. It was a bullet directed at a couple of people in the list. My manager immediately scheduled me for a Corporate Communications class, to soften my approach. A couple of days later, my co-worker, the manager type, launched an email... mine was a bullet, his was a thermo-nuclear device that rivaled the sun... I got yanked from the course and he got sent instead of me.

    Soft skills are fun.

    Jeff, how do I get a bat?

    ----------------------------------------------------
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • Loner

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 21279

    I saw 20/20 one time and it said religion should not be used in workplace - that means you cannot give any religion materials to your co-workers and force your co-workers to listen to your preaching.

    I read Dale Carnegie's books but I still don't know how to use the skills he presented in the book and put it into practice.

  • mhaskins

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1145

    Joshua Jones (7/18/2008)


    For me the soft skills came from being a customer service professional ...

    Mine too - I don't know if my minimum wage customer service jobs were really that "professional" ... but after being blamed for everything under the sun because you are the one standing in front of people or you are the one on the other end of the phone, you tend to develop these soft skills. You learn how to bite your tongue. You learn how to speak directly with tact. You learn how to turn enemies into friends. And the most important thing is you learn to respect the people who are currently in the same position as you were.

    It is all about expanding your level of tolerance and adding a healthy dose of patience.

    Mia

    I have come to the conclusion that the top man has one principle responsibility: to provide an atmosphere in which creative mavericks can do useful work.
    -- David M. Ogilvy

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 396692

    mhaskins (7/18/2008)


    Joshua Jones (7/18/2008)


    For me the soft skills came from being a customer service professional ...

    Mine too - I don't know if my minimum wage customer service jobs were really that "professional" ... but after being blamed for everything under the sun because you are the one standing in front of people or you are the one on the other end of the phone, you tend to develop these soft skills. You learn how to bite your tongue. You learn how to speak directly with tact. You learn how to turn enemies into friends. And the most important thing is you learn to respect the people who are currently in the same position as you were.

    It is all about expanding your level of tolerance and adding a healthy dose of patience.

    It could teach all that... Or it could teach a pretty serious disdain for all the idiots you have to deal with all day long that apparently can't wipe their own bottoms without near fatal mishaps.

    I'm just saying...

    ----------------------------------------------------
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • GSquared

    SSC Guru

    Points: 260824

    Shaun McGuile (7/18/2008)


    GSquared: Scientology?!?

    What does that mean? Cruise and Travolta come over and talk at you? :D....--Shaun

    LOL

    What makes you think I don't go over and talk to them? 😉

    (They're both just members of the church. The above is comparable to assuming that "being a Catholic" means Mel Gibson comes over and talks to you. I guess preferably when he's sober.)

    Seriously, though, the thing that got me into Scientology in the first place is that I used to have serious problems communicating with people, and Scientology was able to fix that quickly and easily, with just a book on the subject and a few tough but basic training sessions. That part of the Scientology "tech" is all about communicating with people, and it's really effective.

    - Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
    Property of The Thread

    "Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everyone agrees it's old enough to know better." - Anon

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 997104

    Shaun McGuile (7/18/2008)


    GSquared: Scientology?!?

    What does that mean? Cruise and Travolta come over and talk at you? 😀

    No the only truth is the "Theory of Constraints" - TOC.

    And yes I'm like bitbucket I call a spade a spade.

    I like spotting the flaws in other peoples' perfection, without predjudice of course. 😀

    I do not believe in ambiguity when it comes to deadlines and weather or not something is a good/feasible/rational idea.

    Hey thats probably why I'm not a 'manager'.:D

    --Shaun

    I actually gave up being both a Director and a Manager for the same reasons... I think I might even be worse than you and Bit Bucket... I wake up in the morning thinking that everyone is stupid and then I make exceptions from there. 😛

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • steve.hughes

    Newbie

    Points: 5

    Adam,

    One of the most effective ways to get opportunities to improve these skills is with practice. I work with the local SQL Server and BI user groups and work to get speakers from the group. This also works with "lunch seminars" or some equivelant at work. As you have to do a presentation in front of peers, it is a great opportunity to work on your skills.

    Thanks,

    Steve

  • Shaun McGuile

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4111

    Jeff:

    I wake up in the morning knowing I'm stupid and then things go down hill from there....:D

    (hmm did I really just say that).

    I think we all got Aspergers to a degree cos we do IT. 😛

    --Shaun

    Hiding under a desk from SSIS Implemenation Work :crazy:

  • mhaskins

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1145

    Grant Fritchey (7/18/2008)


    mhaskins (7/18/2008)


    Joshua Jones (7/18/2008)


    For me the soft skills came from being a customer service professional ...

    Mine too - I don't know if my minimum wage customer service jobs were really that "professional" ... but after being blamed for everything under the sun because you are the one standing in front of people or you are the one on the other end of the phone, you tend to develop these soft skills. You learn how to bite your tongue. You learn how to speak directly with tact. You learn how to turn enemies into friends. And the most important thing is you learn to respect the people who are currently in the same position as you were.

    It is all about expanding your level of tolerance and adding a healthy dose of patience.

    It could teach all that... Or it could teach a pretty serious disdain for all the idiots you have to deal with all day long that apparently can't wipe their own bottoms without near fatal mishaps.

    I'm just saying...

    Yes. It also teaches that. Yes, there are morons. Yes, I have been jaded by my CSR experience. But the further down the Darwinian chain the moron is, the more satisfied I am at the end of the challenge of helping him or her.

    Mia

    I have come to the conclusion that the top man has one principle responsibility: to provide an atmosphere in which creative mavericks can do useful work.
    -- David M. Ogilvy

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