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Interpersonal Skills

“No matter how busy you are, you must take the time to make the other person feel important.” – Mary Kay Ash

Interpersonal Skills Overview

Have you ever had to work with someone you didn’t particularly care for? Happens all the time. Interpersonal skills are all the behaviors and feelings that exist within us that influence our interactions with others. Everyone is different and interactions between people are different. If there were no need for interaction, communication and teamwork, interpersonal skills would not be as important to a leader. But, we must work with others and strained interpersonal relationships can have a destructive impact on a team.

Why Interpersonal Skills are Important to a Leader

Leaders are responsible for results and achieving those results often depends on how well team members work together. We recommend that leaders get to know their team members and peers because knowledge is a bridge to building a positive relationship with someone. The leader should not expect that everyone get along 100% and engage with each other after work. But, they should expect that team members and peers respect each other and get along in the work environment.


Benefits for the Leader

Team members need each other to achieve their goals. If the team members respect each other and enjoy being with each other, it will show in the results. If there are differences that escalate into conflict, the leader can step into the situation and re-ground those in conflict so that the issue is not personal. Leaders with excellent interpersonal skills can go a long way toward creating a culture that people enjoy working in and not one where people cannot get along, with the consequential impact on performance.

Top 3 Coaches Recommendations for Interpersonal Skills
  1. Examine your behavior toward others. Do you make decisions based on what is best for the organization or based on whom you like or dislike? Identify three behaviors you will change that will demonstrate that you do not who favoritism or bias.
  2. Consider having either one-on-one or open feedback sessions with team members and customers. Express your desire to receive valuable, helpful feedback about you and the organization. Get back to each individual or customer regarding the results of your feedback sessions and the actions you will be taking in response.
  3. Think of instances when you may have shown disrespect to others. Why did you behave in this manner? Was outside stress the cause of your disrespectful behavior? If so, make sure you refrain from allowing outside circumstances to negatively influence your behavior.
Measure and Improve Your Interpersonal Skills

Be determined to improve your interpersonal skills and behaviors. Take the short interpersonal skills self-assessment on this page to identify where to improve your interpersonal skills and behaviors. Then, get more coaches’ recommendations in Chapter 30 of The Leadership Compass: Mapping Your Leadership Direction to help you fine-tune your interpersonal skills and behaviors.

Related Competencies:

Self-Assessment

Interpersonal Skills

Measure your interpersonal skills and behaviors!

Select your level of agreement with each statement in the self-assessment.
When answering the questions, consider how others might evaluate your interpersonal skills.

 

Recommended Interpersonal Skill Books:

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