I’ve been having great conversations with my boss about social competence, particularly in the lead up to the interviews we held for a new staff position.
What do I mean by social competence?
Basically, we’re discussing all the competencies and skills related to human interaction: empathy, verbal communication, listening skills, and all the other nonverbal forms of communication. Interacting with a socially competent person is easy and pleasant. You feel listened to. You feel like that person cares about you as an individual. While you would hope to find these characteristics in every person you interact with, I believe we can all attest that it just doesn’t happen.
Social competence is a strength of mine, and it’s an integral part of my brand. From what I know about strengths, I love to understand how strong social skills came to be one of mine. Your strengths are developed from your talents which are innate areas of potential strength. In other words, your talents, the foundation for your strengths, are just a natural part of who you are.
All this is important because, when it comes to building your brand, your strengths play a crucial role.
I believe that social skills are a talent.
With that thought, social competence was something I was born with. But to go deeper, this innate ability had to be groomed and developed into the strength it is today. I believe my parents, particularly my father, played a huge role in this. My dad was a salesman and he could talk to anyone. He had a very loyal customer base because of how he treated them. He cared. Everybody who met my dad loved him. There was just something about his personality that drew people in. And he passed his strength down to me.
If your strengths stem from talents you are born with, and if your strengths are crucial to your professional brand development, then your upbringing and your family could have a strong influence on your brand. If this is the case, it’s important to develop a good understanding of that influence, and work with whatever you’ve been given. Don’t try to be someone who you are not, but try to be the best version of you possible.
My thoughts were really swirling as I wrote this post, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. When who you are is your brand, the people in your life have a role to play in that brand. So now it’s your turn…
Think about one of your strengths. How has your family influenced its development?
Laura serves as Internship Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the office of Career & Leadership Development. In this role, Laura advises students who are pursuing internships, assists employers with intern recruitment, and supports university faculty who oversee academic internships. She also provides students with job search readiness assistance through presentations, individual counseling, and social media. Laura earned her bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in French and Political Science, and she received her masters degree in Counseling from UW-Whitewater. To learn more about Laura, read her blog, follow her on Twitter, or connect on LinkedIn.