20 Killer People Skills to Succeed at Workplace

Who does not want to succeed at work?

We all desperately want to, therefore I thought let’s continue from my last post 10 Killer Self-Management Skills to Excel in Life and Career and move to people skills. To build meaningful work relationships, improve your influence on others, motivating people, their actions and getting things done and remain popular require, ever important, PEOPLE SKILLS.

20 Killer People Skills to Succeed at Workplace

There are two types of people skills which one must master.

Essential People Skills

In majority of job descriptions you will find these skills and it is possible that you will be continuously assessed on some or all these in your performance reviews. The degree may vary as per the post or designation but, they are essential and everyone must possess.

  1. Communication Skills – To articulate your idea you must be a good listener with impeccable verbal skills followed by decent writing skills. Communication is sum total of verbal, non-verbal communication, reading & writing. You have to master the art of communication and it requires lot of practice.
  2. Teamwork Skills – You need to know the art of working together collaboratively in any situation and contribute to the team goal. People have different skill sets, work styles and motivation levels; teamwork is cohesive working with all.
  3. Interpersonal Relationship Skills – You must build good relationship with the people at work and in your network by building trust, finding common grounds, having empathy. These skills are closely related to communication skills and can be classified as number one social skill. In 21st Century, in competitive era, you have to create and nurture good relationship in order to be successful at work place.
  4. Presentation Skills – In order to engage and motivate people to act in accordance to your desired outcome, you must captivate them with charismatic presentation skills. A communication skill is the gift inside while presentation is the attractive gift wrapper to make it more attractive. As you move up the corporate ladder, presentation skills become more important and pertinent.
  5. Leadership Skills – You must have the ability to inspire and motivate people on your ideas to get things done. You must develop that commitment, compassion and dedication to take challenging initiatives and reaching to its positive goal with an inspired team.
  6. Selling Skills – Prime important skill because one need to always sell ideas, service or a product in corporate work culture to thrive. Every decision or action of yours required to be sold to prove your worth. It is just not for sales people but for every person in corporate sector to improve sales skills.
  7. Management Skills – Knowing every aspect of your organizations mission and vision to create implementation strategy for self and subordinates are conquering management skills. Achievement of targeted goal with a well-planned strategy is vital to continuous success at work place. Ability to handle small to large complex and diverse team and achieving the goal is the key to success.
  8. Meeting management skills – In corporate world 50% meetings are a waste of time. Efficiently and effectively leading every meeting to its positive outcome is a smart skill which one should master.
  9. Facilitating skills– Being able to coordinate and solicit well represented opinions and feedback from a group with diverse perspectives to reach a common, best solution.
  10. Mentoring / coaching skills – Providing constructive wisdom, guidance, and/or feedback that can help others further their career development

Addon People Skills

These skills are more inside knowledge that you learn from work experience or from seniors and mentors. You will not find these skills in job description but, without it you cannot sustain and grow in corporate world. Some people can go through their entire career and not be aware of some of these skills.

  1. Boss Management– Understanding your boss, his expectations of your work, his perception of your performance plays vital role in boss management. Whether you are challenged, given opportunities, or recognized at work heavily depends on your ability to communicate, manage expectations, and build a good relationship with your boss.
  2. Self-promotion – It is extremely important to proactively and subtly promote your skills and work results to people of power or influence in your organization and network.  Apart from your boss, the key people & decision makers must be made aware of your performance and key achievements. You need to subtly build your reputation with all key people that can influence your performance review.  This is because hard work alone does not guarantee success.
  3. Dealing difficult personalities – You cannot choose the people (superiors, peers or subordinates), you wish to work with and many a times work while working in teams you come across difficult personalities. Working such difficult people and still able to achieve the work result is what management expects from you.
  4. Dealing with difficult or unexpected situations – You must develop the ability to stay calm and still are effective when faced with an unexpected or difficult situation.  Again this is a smart skill which includes being able to think on your feet and articulate thoughts in an organized manner even when you are not prepared for the discussion or situation you are in.
  5. Ability to handle office politics – No one can escape from office politics and if you don’t choose to play, it will play you. So better understand and proactively deal with the unspoken nuances of office and people dynamics so you can protect yourself from unfairness as well as further your career.  Office politics is a fact of life and don’t say, I do not like it, you have to love it.
  6. Influencing skills – You must develop ability to influence perspectives or decision making but still have the people you influence think they made up their own minds.
  7. Negotiation skills – In professional world all deals are negotiated and people, who can understand the other side’s motivations, can crack these deals.  It is imperative to reach a win-win resolution that you find favorably, satisfies both sides, and maintains relationships for future interactions.
  8. Networking skills – In competitive environment, you need to build a strong network. The bigger and stronger the network you have, the more easily you can get things done (e.g., find a job, get advice, find business partners, find customers, etc…)
  9. Good Judgement – It is one of the important people skill that comes directly from learning, listening and observing the world around you. It empowers you to wisely select friends and associates, determine reactions and responses, and make sound decisions.
  10. Sense of Humor – You need to develop the ability to have that cheesy smile and cool demeanor in difficult times and ability to use humor to attract people who can enjoy your company and listen to you.

If you don’t have all of them today, don’t worry, most of us don’t.   One must understand why these skills are vital in professional life. Then go step wise to develop them.

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I am a self‐learned digital executive, leader, strategist and trainer by profession and experience. I have rich experience as marketer, trainer, entrepreneurial evangelist and start up facilitator. I admire first generation of entrepreneurs and conducted more than 200 programs to establish startup ecosystem in Central India. I have worn many hats in my career, as a result, I have a unique ability to manage multi‐disciplinary projects and navigate complex challenges in the process. I have big ideas and I don't care who gets credit, I just like to facilitate. Drop me a line anytime, whether it's a collaboration, writing projects, skills training or just business - will love to hear from you - sachin@eq4c.com

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Categories: Skills Springboard


  1. Good extention to the previous post on self-management. Gosh!! 30 skills put together on self & people management. I have to work on the list.

  2. Dr. Anjan Mohapatra

    Thanks a lot, Sir. I was curiously waiting for your post. In professional setup one must have all the skills mentioned in your post but, in routine, we do not concentrate on them. I will wait for your next posts, they are interesting and insightful. Thanks

  3. I like Boss management and handling office politics, you are right they are the skills one must develop. Even self promotion is necessary skill today to tell management about the work done by you and keep on hammering. It always great reading your articles on blogmag.in.

  4. Enjoyed reading the article above, really explains everything in detail, the article is very interesting and effective.Thank you and good luck for the upcoming articles

  5. Why not have just skills what is paid for or what is u r professional skill is .. If so many are required to succeed, definitely something seriously wrong at system and social level..

    • Dear Raja, there is nothing wrong at system level because the corporate expectancy is going up due to globalization and fierce competition. Our environment at school or college is not so conducive to create professionals with the right skills as per the expectations of the corporate world. We need to introspect our education system which require mass changes. At social level we learn few but not all.


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