Beyond Bytes: Why Interpersonal Skills are the New Power Tools for Success

In today's tech-driven world, it's easy to get caught up in the relentless pursuit of ever-evolving technical skills. I’ve done that myself. I’m a former banking executive (lending) who was turned into a product management executive. That type of change required that I step up my technical skills. Beyond the things I’ve learned on the job building technology products in the fintech space, I’m spent personal time studying programming.

While mastering the latest software or programming language is valuable, I believe there is an even more important skill set that will be a true differentiator in the professional arena: interpersonal skills.

Forget the coding bootcamps and consider this: a recent study by the World Economic Forum revealed that by 2025, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and people management will be the top skills demanded by employers. Technology might be king; but being human is what will help professionals stand out.

So, why are interpersonal skills suddenly the hottest commodity? Here's why:

1. They Bridge the Gap: In a world increasingly reliant on collaboration, the ability to connect and communicate effectively is paramount. Strong interpersonal skills foster trust, build rapport, and facilitate smooth information exchange within teams and across departments. This translates to increased productivity, better decision-making, and a more positive work environment.

2. They Unlock Innovation: Great ideas often emerge from diverse perspectives colliding and igniting. Empathy, active listening, and open-mindedness allow individuals to tap into the collective intelligence of their teams, leading to groundbreaking solutions and creative breakthroughs.

3. They Lead with Impact: Effective leadership isn't about barking orders; it's about inspiring and motivating others. Emotional intelligence, the ability to manage your own emotions and understand those of others, is crucial for building trust, navigating conflict, and fostering a culture of engagement. I see this every day with my team. Just yesterday I had team members thanking me for being honest and transparent as a leader.

4. They Build Trust and Loyalty: In an era of constant change and uncertainty, human connection is a stabilizing force. I would argue that technology has pushed us further and further away from one another. Strong interpersonal skills allow you to build genuine relationships, foster loyalty, and create a sense of belonging within your organization. This, in turn, reduces turnover and attracts top talent.

Developing Your Inner "Humanware"

The good news is, that interpersonal skills are not innate talents; they can be nurtured and honed through:

  • Active listening: Pay close attention to verbal and nonverbal cues, and ask clarifying questions.
  • Empathy: Put yourself in others' shoes to understand their perspectives and feelings.
  • Effective communication: Express your ideas clearly and concisely, while being mindful of your audience.
  • Collaboration: Actively participate in teamwork, share ideas constructively, and celebrate collective achievements.
  • Conflict resolution: Approach disagreements with respect, focus on finding common ground, and seek win-win solutions.

Remember, technical skills are valuable tools, but interpersonal skills are the foundation upon which success is built. By investing in your "humanware," you'll not only thrive in your current role but also unlock doors to exciting future possibilities.

So, go ahead, embrace your humanity, and watch your professional life expand before your eyes!

If you’ve found this information helpful, I hope you’ll do two things for me.

1) Subscribe to this newsletter. That way, new copies are delivered directly to your inbox.

2) Share this newsletter with one other person that you think might benefit from the information I share.

Thank you for subscribing!
Please check your inbox for a link to confirm your email address.

Read past issues

Jul 14
"Known (Mark W. Schaefer) - Book Summary and Notes"
Jul 06
The surprisingly simple purpose of a seed round of funding
Jun 29
When it's an easy decision to pass on startup funding
Jun 15
Go-to-Market Made Easy: Your Roadmap to Customer Acquisition
May 24
Planning for a Second Act + a sabbatical
May 05
This isn't 2008. But, it's not that much better
Apr 20
Market Whisperer: Knowing Your Customer Better Than Investors
Apr 14
Energized > Rested
Apr 07
Numb the pain, silence the teacher
Mar 31
The Myth of the Big Exit
Mar 23
Growth Gears: Equity vs. Debt - Fueling a Startup’s Journey
Mar 16
A candid conversation about fear
Mar 09
The Technical Product Managers Guide to Go-to-Market
Mar 03
My goal was 100 financial plans. I did 10x that goal.
Feb 25
Poor MVP, no one likes you
Feb 24
Beyond Bytes: Why Interpersonal Skills are the New Power Tools for Success
Feb 17
This one question changed how I looked at contingency plans
Feb 10
From $100k -> $75M - this week's fundraising lessons
Jan 27
The next big finance opportunity
Jan 20
This is how long a startup funding round lasts
Jan 09
How I'd market a loan broker business
Jan 02
25+ years of finance experience in less than 5 minutes
Dec 28
How to have a stress-free relationship with money
Dec 17
How to buy a business with little money down
Dec 12
Want to 10x your business? Try the strategy that most people fear.
Dec 05
Why being loan-specific as a loan broker is best
Nov 28
The Power of Micro Markets
Nov 19
Defining success criteria helps remove analysis paralysis
Nov 12
Lessons from acquisitions
Nov 07
My business plan cheat code
Oct 28
Everyone is missing the real point about being overworked
Oct 22
Why you should have a "How to work with me" manual
Oct 18
Selling eggs - my quiet ambition
Oct 13
Breaking Free from 'Meh': The Hidden Impact of a 7 Rating in Life
Sep 24
From Software Engineer to Commercial Loan Broker
Sep 23
A personal message about the importance of your health
Sep 16
Is the SBA 8(a) program going away?
Aug 21
What is a search fund?
Aug 14
My guidelines for speaking engagements
Aug 07
The Ultimate Guide to Picking the Perfect Lender for Your Business
Aug 05
Built to sell - pricing strategies that work
Jul 22
My framework for building impervious value propositions
Jul 12
How to force tradeoff decisions
Jul 09
How I'd Start a Freelance Business Today
Jul 05
The Bookends of Product Management
Jun 28
From the C-suite to Product; How I got here and what you can learn from that
Jun 17
My Digital Detox Experience
Jun 10
AI copywriters wrote this blog post
Jun 03
The SBA Just Made Business Acquisitions Easier
May 27
The power of index investing funds
May 20
The most important skill for entrepreneurs
May 06
I churned out 46,000 words in 90 days using this writing process
Apr 29
⏰ NOW is the time to turn your finance career into entrepreneurship!
Apr 22
How to build your own financial plan in under 1 hour
Apr 15
Define your audience first, then design your product
Apr 08
Getting a business loan just got harder
Mar 25
This one question is jet fuel for productivity
Mar 24
Are the rate hikes over?
Mar 18
This tool removes decision fatigue
Mar 11
The one stat keeping us out of a recession
Mar 05
One key reason raising startup funding is so hard right now
Mar 04
My framework for quickly launching profitable products
Feb 16
What’s the average business loan interest rates?
Feb 13
Everything you need to know about business loan rates
Feb 10
This one tool made me a better entrepreneur
Jan 25
This one-pager is perfect for brainstorming business ideas
Jan 18
Stop making this mistake with your startup’s target market
Jan 11
Powerful tools for researching competitors
Jan 08
User persona template demo
Jan 04
They should take my Marketing degree away
Jan 01
How to confidently charge your worth
Oct 02
Building wealth with Restricted Stock Units (RSUs)
Sep 11
What I’ve learned as a startup analyst for an angel investing syndicate
Jun 24
My favorite economic analysis tools
May 29
Which SBA Loan Has the Lowest Down Payment?
May 01
The Power of a Decision Matrix
Apr 24
Things to consider when buying a business
Apr 17
Buy a Business vs. Start One
Mar 31
How do Micro SBA Loans work?
Mar 03
Common Investor Term Sheet Components
Feb 15
3 Step Process for Generating Business Ideas
Feb 06
Thoughts on <my first Angel Investment>
Jan 11
Lessons from writing over 1,000 words per day
Jan 06
There Are Two Main Types of Business Plans
Dec 09
The Best Pitch Deck Templates