July 12, 2024

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How study can help you help others and sharpen your people skills

9 min read
sharpen your people skills

If you’re interested in pursuing a career that gives you the chance to help other people or simply to become better at supporting others within your established career, taking a course aimed at improving your people skills can help you take a big step forward. There’s a lot more to learn than you might expect, and as you continue your studies, you’ll soon find yourself wondering how you ever got by with only the skills you had managed to pick up through trial and error. Earning a new qualification will open up many doors and could change your life, no matter the age at which you decide to pursue it. This article looks at some of the benefits you could get from enrolling in a program of study focused on helping others.

Improved job satisfaction

Everybody needs to feel that what they do has meaning, and multiple studies have shown that careers that involve helping other people or generally improving the world produce much greater job satisfaction than other types of work. It can be frustrating to sit at a desk ever day filling out paperwork or work on a manufacturing line making products that will one day end up in a landfill. It’s a whole different experience to be able to go home at the end of the day and bask in the knowledge that somebody – even a stranger you will never meet – is living a better life because of the efforts you have made.

Working in a job that makes you happy means that you too will benefit. You’ll face a lower risk of developing mental health problems, stress, or burnout. If your colleagues are doing similar work, you’ll also reap the benefits of being around happier people all day, boosting your mood and making work into something you really look forward to. When you eventually reach retirement age, you’ll be able to relax in the knowledge that your life has meant something. Your loved ones will be proud of you, and you’ll never have to look back and feel disappointed in yourself.

A smoother ride at work

Do you ever feel that you’re struggling at work because the decisions of some of the people whom you have to deal with make no sense to you? Do you experience personality clashes or find that some people just don’t understand what you’re trying to tell them, no matter how much effort you put into explaining? These are common experiences, but they can be incredibly frustrating. Taking the time to study and improve your people skills can help considerably. As you develop a better idea of what’s going on inside other people’s minds, you’ll be able to communicate with them more effectively. You’ll also be able to anticipate their decisions more easily and work out why they sometimes behave in what seem to be irrational ways.

Developing your people skills gives you all kinds of advantages when it comes to supporting vulnerable people, but it also helps you in your dealings with people more generally. You’ll find that it makes you more patient, in turn helping you to feel more relaxed at work. It will also make it easier for you to tell when somebody is trying to take advantage of you and doesn’t deserve your patience. You’ll be better at persuading people, negotiating, and making sure that everybody’s needs are met. You’ll be able to advance your ideas more effectively, and people will be more likely to perceive you as likeable and sympathetic.

Access to new perspectives

Just as studying in this area improves your ability to communicate, it gives you fresh insights that can be incredibly useful when it comes to innovation and problem solving. It’s particularly useful when it comes to teamwork, as it will enable you to engage much more effectively with the people around you, grasping their ideas more easily and identifying ways in which those ideas can work alongside your own. Instead of approaching everything in the same way, you’ll have a new mental flexibility that enhances your creativity and makes group activities in general more rewarding.

Alongside this, you’ll find that you’re in a better position to help bridge the gap when people are failing to understand one another’s perspectives. This can help your workplace run more efficiently, whatever sector you’re in, and it can empower you to help people who are being excluded or ignored due to difficulties in communicating or different psychological outlooks. You can make sure that nobody is disadvantaged due to neurodivergence or mental health difficulties, and you’ll be able to help everybody understand the benefits of bringing different voices to the table. Skills like these are particularly sought after in human resources but can be valuable in any business, whether or not it has dedicated HR staff.

Access to exciting new careers

There’s a whole world out there of fascinating career opportunities for people who have good people skills. Many individuals who are interested in working in the non-profit sector assume that because charities are always in need of volunteers, it’s easy to just walk into this area, acquire some expertise, and get a paid job, but if you’re serious about a career of this type, you’ll find that it’s actually very competitive and you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that you’ve got what it takes. If you do manage to enter this field successfully, however, it is very much worthwhile.

Looking beyond the non-profit sector, there are also great opportunities in fields such as healthcare and social care, youth mentoring, and prisoner rehabilitation. Each of these field requires a subtly different skill set, so you can find a role that suits your natural abilities as well as your training, but they all require strong communication skills and a willingness to look at the world from different points of view. By improving these skills through a formal course of study, you will make yourself much more attractive to potential employers, and you’ll be better equipped to do such jobs well.

A broader range of connections

In the world of work, people often say “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, and indeed all sorts of opportunities, from recruitment to promotions, frequently depend on personal connections. The usual approach recommended in response to this is networking, but most people tend to network with people who are very much like themselves, which makes it hard for some people to access networks with real power. This means that some groups of people find themselves facing serious exclusion. When you study toward a Master of Arts in Counseling and Human Development, you’ll find that you become much more capable of forming connections broadly, rather than just with those from similar backgrounds who already think in similar ways.

By improving your ability to form diverse connections, you’ll be much more able to network with people based on their position, influence, or skills, and you’ll also become valuable to all of your contacts because of your ability to connect them, in turn, with people they might never make contact with otherwise. This is especially helpful when specific expertise or insight is needed, and even people who already belong to socially advantaged networks can usually recognize this.

The chance to make a difference

If you’re a person who naturally feels a lot of empathy for others, chances are that you often find the world an uncomfortable place to live in because you can’t help but notice other people’s suffering.  You’ll find that your outlook improves significantly when you’re able to do something about it. We are all vulnerable to becoming depressed when we feel helpless, and even a modest contribution to making things better can give you a big psychological boost. You may not be able to intercede usefully in every distressing situation that comes to your attention, but you will be better placed to do your bit, to tip the balance towards making the world better.

Sometimes unskilled people try to improve the world on their own initiative and get it wrong. That’s why it’s always a good idea to work through an established organization with a good reputation or to get some training before you try to do this sort of work. Studying in this area will also save you from wasting time reinventing the wheel when you could be spending it on doing something genuinely useful. On top of this, it will give you the coping skills you need to keep you from getting hit too hard psychologically when things don’t work out, as the bigger the issues you are dealing with, the harder failure can hit you. With the right support, you will be able to keep things in perspective and recognize that although you may not be successful every time, it’s the balance of successes overall that matters.

The chance to be a role model

When you improve your own communication and people skills, and when you are seen to be focused on helping others, you will have a positive influence on the people around you. This could be your colleagues, your kids, or people you encounter through work or social activities. You can change the balance of what they see in their lives and make it seem normal to be devoted to helping other people. This will make them feel less shy about trying to do so themselves. If they see how you have changed your life, they are more likely to feel that they have the capacity to change theirs in positive ways as well.

Being a role model isn’t just about feeling good about yourself. It’s a status that you can use to bring about change in the wider world. It enables you to take your best impulses and magnify them. If you begin your new path in life by taking an online course, it can start straight away, as other people in your household see how hard you’re working and are inspired to put more effort into learning themselves.

A better personal life

When you study a course of this type, the skills you learn won’t stop being useful when you go home at the end of the working day. You’ll find that they’re every bit as applicable in your domestic and social life. You’ll be better at understanding the people around you and recognizing and accepting the ways in which you think differently. You’ll find it easier to sympathize with different points of view and, as a result, your ability to solve conflicts will improve, potentially helping you to bring an end to long-running family disputes. You’ll be better at developing and maintaining relationships and will get more out of your time with other people. If you have children, you’ll also be able to pass along some of these skills, giving them a real advantage as they grow up and begin to navigate their own way through the world.

When you develop a reputation for helping other people, people will be more willing to help you, and that will reveal itself in every aspect of your life. You’ll attract the kind of people who feel a sense of duty towards others like the one you feel yourself, and if you ever fall on hard times, that will put you in a much better position than you would be in otherwise. As we all tend to need some help as we get older, you might consider helping other people to be an investment in your own future as well.

Because it can change your life on so many different levels, education that helps you understand other people better is never a waste of time. Studying online is now easier to do than ever, and the comparative ease with which you can fit it around other aspects of your life makes it an eminently practical choice. A course like this can be useful to you regardless of which sector you work in or want to move into, because no matter what you do, there will always be people involved, and this educational foundation will help you form much better connections with the people around you.

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