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Soft Skills

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Article from ADMIN 38/2017
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Honing your system administrator skills softly as an IT Crowd collective

It takes more than typing accuracy and a memorized command list to make you a great system administrator. You need to master the single most important – and perhaps the most difficult – skill to attain of all: People skills.

I won't keep you in suspense. This isn't a novel after all. System administrators need to hone their people skills. I know. I know. You've heard it before: "You need to learn how to deal with people." I'll be perfectly honest with you – dealing with people is the most difficult part of any job. Think of people in retail sales, real estate, medicine, and politics. The one skill they all have, or should have, in common is that they genuinely like people. It's hard to believe but there are those poor souls out there who love to talk to people, love to negotiate with people, love to help people, and there are those who, God forbid, love to listen to people.

Not us, right? We're not part of that political ilk. Somehow we've evolved past it. We can text, IM, and email our way around a real conversation. And I'm not pointing the fickle finger of guilt just at you – oh no, I'm pointing into a mirror as well. I'm just as guilty as the most introverted, Sheldon Cooper-esque, nonconformist out there. I too have my moments of disdain for humankind, but I don't think I'm all that bad – which, of course, is a symptom of the bigger problem.

We're smart. We know what we're doing. We don't need to be glad handing, pressing the flesh, or listening to someone drone painfully on about their pets, their kids, or their significant others, when all we really desire is to fix whatever lame problem ails them and then get back to our network scans and to our now tepid Diet Dr. Peppers.

Unfortunately, life involves other people, and the most successful technical people (the ones you hate but secretly want to be like) are those who know how to deal effectively with the human race, one individual at a time. I know it sounds

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