Technically, you’re killer. You can find the leak in the connection pool using AOP in your sleep. You can solve that threading issue within the JVM on Solaris in a heartbeat. You speed up the unit tests by replacing offensive classes with mock objects. You, my friend, are a machine.
Who wouldn’t want to hire you to be a technical consultant?
Most companies …. that is, if you don’t have good workplace relationship skills.
At best, your technical skills are only 50% of the package.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Think about it. People like working with others who are pleasant and reliable team players. If you don’t have these characteristics, it doesn’t matter how good you are at solving the threading issue within the JVM on Solaris. People won’t want to work for you. However, people will bend over backwards to work with someone who does these three things in the workplace:
1. Do what you say you’ll do
It seems so obvious. If you say that you’re going to find the leak in the connection pool by the morning, have it done by the morning. Not having it done slows everyone else down and characterizes you as unreliable (and no one wants to work with an unreliable person). If you do what you’ll say you’ll do, the workplace will come to appreciate both your technical skills and you.
2) Appreciate your colleagues
We’ve all had that co-worker. The one you move mountains for … and … they still don’t seem to appreciate (or even realize) all of the work you’re doing. Don’t be that person. Say thank you. Let your peers know when they did something well. Let them know that you noticed. It not only builds moral in the workplace but it also raises you up to the title of ‘most sought-after colleague.’
Appreciate and assist your colleagues. It will get you far.
3. Assist others in success
If your peers need your assistance, give it to them! They will remember you over time. If you happen to find information that a colleague could use, share it with them. For example, you hear that another department is kicking off a big development effort. If you tell your recruiters about the situation and offer to introduce them to the manager, they will redeploy you at every opportunity. Assisting others becomes mutually beneficial.
While being good at what you do is important, having the right attitude about it is key. Combining top technical skills with a reliable and supportive work ethic will get you far in technical consulting.
Can you think of other interpersonal skills that are important for technical consulting? Let us know about them in the comments section below, or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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