Which is more important on the job: building relationships or building skills?
In the workplace, relationships are important, to the point where many would argue that they are more important than your skills or qualifications. So, when you’re in business school it’s important to learn your chosen skills quickly so that you can dedicate your time to building relationships with people who can help you to further career.
Holding relationships higher that qualifications may seem absurd but it is not unheard of in a world constantly promoting workplace functions and team building. In fact. on a popular forum site called Quora, an employer has to ask the question of whether or not they should fire an unsociable employee who was great at their job.
Nevertheless, the two go hand in hand these days, and building relationships is now seen as a skill in itself, which is easy to understand given the rise of social media.
Screen time is at an all-time high, with many professionals preferring virtual meetings to the “real thing”. And as millennials dominate the workforce, they have chosen social media as their primary mode of communications both in-house and to the consumer.
Where do skills vs relationships get you?
One word. Nepotism. It’s an ugly word many of us would rather avoid, but the reality is that unfortunately for many of us it’s very common in the real world – statistics show that in some industries it’s the way a majority of employees begin their careers in their chosen industries.
This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing, but it does show the extent to which skills are not as highly valued as the ability to have skills – in other words: “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
True or untrue as it might be, it’s worth brushing up on your skills whilst building relationships at the same time – after all, knowing the daughter of the director is your colleague and being friendly with her will simply further your career in the long run, and really, what’s the harm in that?
Do business schools teach you how to build relationships or skills?
Institutions such as Hult Business School that specialize in business can be of great benefit to you. There, you will not only reap the benefits of learning the administrative side of business, but you will learn people-management skills as well. People skills are a crucial tool so vital to the success of careers nowadays, yet so often overlooked. For example, there will be instances in which you will be working with a stakeholder and will need to not only manage expectations but also provide push back and insight as to why you are doing so.
But, most good business institutions know that the two must be intertwined in order for you to succeed in the workplace; it’s great to be an expert in your field but if you’re unable to communicate why you are an expert in your field, there’s no reason to be one.
If you lack confidence in this area, there are plenty of websites online that offer courses part-time and full-time aimed at developing confidence in the workplace – a good place to start is with putting together an elevator pitch; a quick summarization of your career and skills. This will enhance your chances of being hired in your chosen profession and show the employer what you have to offer them.