Are you a Social Leader? By Paula Pace
Bill is a master when it comes to project planning; but he’s a disaster when the project is put aside for the day and everyone goes out to dinner. Susan knows everything there is to know about how her product works, but she fails miserably when she has to make small talk at a corporate event. Bill and Susan aren’t the only people who suffer in social situations in the business world.
Whether you are representing your company at an important national event in New York or having lunch with a major client in your home city, you want to make a positive and lasting impression. Research tells us that only 15% of your career success is attributed to technical skills; the remaining 85% is credited to people skills and the image you project. If you project an unprofessional image or unintentionally offend your customers, they will likely choose to do business elsewhere, and you would probably never know the reason why.
Even if your work does not take you to distant places or does not require that you nurture major client relations, your social skills impact your everyday wor k life. Greeting clients, making introductions and holding conversation can be daunting. Knowing if you should or should not stand when someone enters the room is often puzzling. And probably the biggest challenge men and women have on a daily basis is who enters the elevator first? A social leader who can handle all these etiquette situations is free to place his or her focus on providing good work while building relationships.
This message is too short to cover the wide array of social leadership skills required in the workplace. Instead, its purpose is to help you recognize the need for these skills. For now I’ll give two pieces of advice: 1. Slow down! Give yourself time to think through the social situation in front of you. 202. Learn more about Social Leadership (Business Protocol or Etiquette). Read articles, buy a good book and observe those you deem to have good social leadershhip skills.
Today’s dynamic business leaders are also social leaders. They know how to finesse the business lunch, they work a room to their advantage, and they stand out in social situations as people others want to know. Often we say these people are “naturals.” We think their ability to move so effectively in business and social situations comes easily. But chances are, these dynamic leaders have had to work hard to become accomplished. They’ve mastered skills in conversation, dining, introductions and networking. They have developed t heir social leadership skills.