Social Skills (aka Soft Skills/People Skills) Are the Foundation of Teamwork
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Teamwork is a fundamental requirement for collaboration. That implies team members forming and fostering relationships, finding common ground, and building consensus around ideas. It also implies allowance for renegade team members, those who are critical of new ideas and focus on the risk of changes. The power of teamwork lies not in conformity but in the diversity of ideas and the synergy of the group.
Udemy Course: Lead and Contribute to Collaborative Meetings and Workshops
How to Facilitate or Participate in Live and Virtual Conversations to Define Requirements, User Stories, and Features
Our Ability to Work in Teams Is Based on Our Social Skills
What constitutes a soft skill varies depending on which authority we consult. The only agreement is that the various authorities have is that soft skills are a common set of abilities. Many support the thought that it is this set of abilities that defines humanity.
In the context of running a collaborative conversation, team members need social skills to:
- Support each other
- Create a sense of unity
- Enable problem-solving
- Stimulate attendee creativity
- Enhance understanding of goals and objectives
- Listen to each other for intent
- Solicit contributions from each participant
Team Members Need People Skills (Soft Skills)
To be clear, it is not necessarily the job of one participant anointed to “lead” the group. The distribution of these skills amongst the team is relatively irrelevant. What is important is that one or more of the participants apply these social skills.
In a collaborative conversation, the person “leading” the conversation does so with the support of the other participants. The leading and contributing roles can switch between participants at any time. That is one of the tenets of a “self-organizing team”, one of the staples of the Agile philosophy and critical for any collaborative conversation. Working in such an environment relies heavily on social skills.
Some people are just natural Collaborative Conversationalists. Other people like the rest of us (one author definitely included!) can achieve similar results by increasing our understanding of basic human communication. Since he was a software developer in his younger years, he had to learn how to become a human being before he was able to collaborate with colleagues. Only after that acclimation was he qualified to facilitate workshops.
Social skills help us make the best use of our time and of that of those attending our get-togethers. This chapter looks at personality traits, attitudes, and behaviors that ease facilitation.
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