Interpersonal SKills: The New Essential in Accounting
Messmer, Max, The National Public Accountant
Today's employers want more than just good accountants. They seek accountants who exhibit the desire and ability to interact with others in their department, as well as with individuals from different areas in the firm. As a result, strong interpersonal skills have become the new essential to career success.
Developing your interpersonal skills is not only beneficial in helping you satisfy the demands of your employer. It can also greatly reduce work stress, increase your productivity and ultimately enhance your reputation--and perhaps your position-- within the firm.
How can you improve your interpersonal skills? Consider these suggestions:
* Take inventory. Honestly assess your ability to work well with others. Recognize your strengths, admit your weaknesses and identify ways that you can improve. For example, if you rarely speak up during meetings, try to be more proactive in sharing information with others. You don't need to change your personality, but look for ways to make a few simple adjustments.
* Go beyond your job description. How many times have you asked for assistance from someone only to be told, "That's not my responsibility. You'll need to talk to..."? Getting the proverbial "runaround" is not only frustrating, but it leaves you with a bad impression about the individual and his or her company.
* When presented with a request that falls outside of your job responsibilities, show a genuine willingness to be helpful. Ask questions to learn more about the situation, and offer thoughtful suggestions if you can.
* Be a team player. Putting your needs aside for the benefit of the greater good of the group will endear you to colleagues, make you a more desirable person with whom to work and add greater enjoyment to your business life. You will also be setting a positive example for your employees.
* Learn "active listening." Arguably the most underrated interpersonal communication skill, active listening, involves giving your undivided attention to the words spoken by others. It means waiting for your turn to speak, asking for clarification where appropriate and not letting your mind wander.
* Stay focused when you talk. No one enjoys listening to individuals who love to hear themselves speak. It's important to know what you want to say and to say it succinctly and effectively.
* Be open-minded. If you enter a discussion or meeting expecting that certain people won't say anything interesting or relevant, you'll probably miss critical information or ideas. The speakers are also likely to recognize your indifference to what they're sharing. …