Sociability

"Can't we all just get along?" Yes, we probably can, but human relationships and societies are so complex that this never gets truly accomplished. Your place of business has is its own little society, and if you want to get along and make a good impression with your overseers, then you will need to be a peaceful, productive member of that group. If you have any contact with customers or vendors, then your success in this virtue is even more important. If you are a manager or small business owner, then this can sometimes make or break the bank!

Sociability is more than just being determined to get along (although that's a necessary ingredient). It's also a set of skills that allow you to interact well with others. This umbrella includes the ability to make conversation, to get your point across, earn trust and respect, and to keep your coworkers and superiors updated on events, and also possibly your ability with public speaking. All of these skills are going to be a little bit different based on what your responsibilities are. If you are a salesperson, for instance, the need to get your point across will be magnified significantly and focus on motivating a sale. You will also spend a lot of your time making conversation and earning trust. If you manage employees then you will spend much of your focus on, well, all of these skills! If you are relieved that your job doesn't require much utilization of some of these abilities, you should note the benefit they will also have in your personal life and future jobs since you don't always know what the future will bring to you.

Getting along can be accomplished by certain things. One can be done simply by being a "good" person. The best virtues in this set that helps with this are "Tolerance" and "Professionalism"; other philosophies on this site will spend much greater focus on treating people well. If you don't gossip or maltreat other people then you will be much more likely to get along, and certainly have less coworkers and customers complaining to your boss about you. Even if you do things right, however, people will still get angry with you—it's a given. In this case, you will have to focus on your skills in conflict resolution and self-control; you do not want to be the one who loses your temper or does something inappropriate during an argument.

Becoming better skilled with your sociability is going to take education and practice, and always at least practice. Some of us who are not naturally outgoing may not have had as much practice with their social skills growing up, but even in adulthood these skills can be improved. You can find many books on the subject, get help from classes or consultants, or even see a counselor about this issue—do whatever you need to in order to get help. Practicing the skill will require that you find opportunities to talk to strangers, probably, and work on your problem areas while judging your growth in this area as well (you can use a system similar to the one this site uses, where you make a daily tally of how well you are getting the activities done and whether you make your goals).

This is a skill that will improve all aspects of your life so I encourage you to work on this virtue if you have any doubt or dissatisfaction in this area. Down below are some activities that might help you. See the recommended reading below, or find some classes in your community that can help you improve your skills as well!

Activities

  • Work on Your Daily Conversation Skills: Many of us love talking to old friends, but rarely take opportunities to talk to people we don't know. If you see someone frequently that you never seem to take the chance to speak with, consider this an opportunity. Make sure you know the names of everyone in your life (and work on remembering them). Talking to strangers may be more difficult to practice, but learning how to do this appropriately will also greatly increase both your skill and confidence.
  • Self-Control: The virtues that cover this more specifically are Tolerance and Professionalism. If you have a hard time not lashing out at co-workers and customers that anger you, you really need to get this under control. Sometimes bitterness will work in more subtle ways, but people will still notice it and it will eventually affect your value to the operation. Use self-reflection as a tool to figure out why you personally lose control, and figure out what techniques you can use to bring your feelings down, or possibly figure out how you can change your environment so you are tempted to "lose it" less often.
  • Work on Conflict Management: Even if you are in the right, it's just better if you can avoid getting people mad or furious with you no matter the reason. Never treat someone as if their feelings or concerns are unimportant (even if they're not), and if you have to make a disappointing decision make it clear that you are not doing so as a personal attack on them and let them know the reasons behind it. This is an area that is worthy of further education.
  • Read Books and Take Classes: Everyone and their dog has written books about closing sales or dealing with problem employees/coworkers—and a few of them were pretty smart! Find the better books among these and read them closely. There are bound to be classes on similar topics in your area, so it might help you to find these and attend a class. Not only are classes sometimes more rewarding than articles or books, but they also provide plenty of other real people to practice your conversation skills with!
  • Work on Other Virtue Systems: Since interacting well with others is so important, most of the virtue systems on this site focus quite a bit of attention on them (take the Universal Values, for instance). Studying these other ideas might be well-worth your time if you really want to study all the different characteristics that make living well with others so rewarding.

Your Record

Mark yourself at "fault" every time you lose your self-control while working with a coworker or a customer. If you instigate negative behavior that diminishes your relationship with any other coworker, like gossiping or degrading others, then mark yourself at fault. Make goals by using the activities above and by educating yourself. If you do not perform the activities or reach those goals, then mark yourself at fault.

Opinions

The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it.

Voltaire, French Philosopher and Writer

The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and to influence their actions.

John Hancock, American Politician, Merchant and Scholar

Golden Mean

Solitariness, uncommunicativeness, unfriendliness, unsociability
Sociability
Obtrusiveness, importunity

Recommended Reading

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships — by Daniel Goleman

Social intelligence is one theory about the ways in which people learn how to converse, get along with others, and understand what people want. This best-selling author on both emotional and social intelligence wrote this book that lays out the theory of social intelligence and argues the case for its benefits.

Teamwork Is an Individual Skill: Getting Your Work Done When Sharing Responsibility — by Christopher M. Avery, Meri Aaron Walker, Erin O'Toole

Getting Your Work Done When Sharing Responsibility: This book covers the skills you need to get things done while working in groups; sociability figures heavily into doing this, as you can imagine.

How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships — by Leil Lowndes

This isn't necessarily just business related, but learning how to start, continue, and sometimes fake conversations is an important skill to learn and practice. This is one good way to start.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.



On Amazon.com

We take our bearings, daily, from others. To be sane is, to a great extent, to be sociable. John Updike
Sedo - Buy and Sell Domain Names and Websites project info: virtue.net Statistics for project virtue.net etracker® web controlling instead of log file analysis
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