Interpersonal skills is another area of leadership that isn’t discussed often. I think that’s because it’s difficult to think how you can develop yourself or someone else through it. How in do you make someone unawkward? Some leadership profiles describes this one as: Sensitive to the moods, feelings, and motivation of others; recognizes and encourages others through active listening, feedback, and appropriate influence; balances compassion and firmness in interpersonal relationships. Let’s jump in to this one together and have a look at a few key areas.
Momma always said manners are important and she was right! A smile and being appreciative goes a long way. If you say something like “I know it sounds like I complain all the time but….” Well you can stop right there because that means you are complaining all the time. This goes for work and at home. Also keep in mind your audience when it comes to manners. A team member should not address senior leadership as bro or other colloquial terms. On the other side, I shouldn’t prop my feet up on my desk when having a conversation with someone. Both are tone setting points that are not interpreted well by the other party.
The majority of the what our profile says sits right here. It’s about being in tune with what’s going on with those around you. Can you tell when someone on your team is having an off day? More importantly, do you know how to approach and handle that situation with clarity and empathy? If this is an area of growth for you, look to others close to you that are skilled here. Observe how they handled it and what they picked up on. If there are things you missed, remember those indicators for the future. Sometimes just slowing down enough to see it makes all the difference.
Communicating both verbally and non-verbally are big pieces. Avoid blurting out the first thing that pops in your head if this an area you need to grow in. Remember that your communication carries weight for both good and bad. A sprinkle of humor helps. It keeps people at ease and shows a level of engagement. Avoid taking it to the extreme though. Otherwise you may be labeled as a jokester, and that will hinder you credibility. The profile nails it about active listening, feedback and a balanced approach. Those are great avenues to improving communication skills.
The great thing about emotional intelligence is that you are fully in control. It’s a little more of a hill to climb for the introvert, but they can still master the skills enough to make this a strength. Master your interpersonal skills and you’ll find many other areas of leadership become much easier to handle.
Make a better tomorrow.