Yegor Bugayenko, programmer, founder, investor and philanthropist, recently invited me on his podcast, Shift-M/40. The majority of his listeners are programmers and tech people in the software industry. This group needs specific technical skills to succeed in their career, yet Yegor wanted to talk about a different set of skills—interpersonal skills, often referred to as soft skills. He was wondering if programmers need soft skills to be successful in the modern work environment. I invite you to listen to our conversation below. If you want to skip ahead to what interests you, take a look at the time stamped topics below.
See below to skip ahead.
(1:50) Soft Skills: What are they and how do they benefit your career?
Collaborating: What does it look like to have good collaboration skills? What
about poor collaboration skills?
doesn’t only rely on being assertive. Here’s what else you need to do.
(7:04) Why don’t people collaborate?
(8:46) How do big-ego experts spread recognition across the team? Why should
(10:25) Can we train people to improve their collaboration skills? (Yes, there is a way to collaborate, just like there is a way to program!)
(11:24) What happens when people are not engaged in training?
(12:17) If someone prefers technical skills such as debugging, and not
interested in moving outside of that realm, is focusing on interpersonal
irrelevant to their career goals?
(4:19) Conflict: What is the difference between people who have conflict
resolution skills and those who do not?
(16:52) What’s behind the ‘yes, yes, yes’ mentality?
(20:33) How do you measure progress in interpersonal skills?
(25:16) Coaching: What is it and how do you use it?
(28:00) Do I have a mentor?
(29:08) How do you get a coach in your organization?
(31:31) Let’s compare someone with strong and poor coaching skills. How does
their behavior differ?
(38:30) What to do (and what to avoid) if you want to coach others in the
(41:36) How does coaching others at work help your career?
(44:45) What about office politics? Does coaching others put you in a more
risky position in that arena?
(46:46) What is the difference between a person with high emotional
intelligence and a person with low emotional intelligence? What does that look
(48:12) Is emotional intelligence something you can learn, or are you just
born with it? If it’s learnable, how do you practice?
(53:05) Is it more difficult for an emotional person to build a successful
(54:52) Is there a difference between freelancers and fulltime employees when
it comes to the need for soft skills? Do the skills needed change over time?