Are Your People Skills Up to Scratch?
People skills are something that can be incredibly useful in a work environment, particularly for those in leadership positions. Unfortunately, not all leaders have the best people skills! These sorts of skills don’t come naturally to everyone, and it can take a bit of practice to get better at interacting with others.
So if your interpersonal skills aren’t as instinctive as you’d like, it can take some time to get them up to scratch. We’ve explored a few of the key areas you might need to work on below:
1. Discover Your Confident Side
People can usually tell if you’re feeling anxious, worried or nervous. And such emotions not only imply that you don’t have confidence in what you’re saying, they can make those around you feel awkward as well.
It’s therefore important to look and sound confident when you interact with your team. Things like your posture, facial expressions, and tone of voice will all matter – you should stand up straight, keep a calm expression, as well as speak loudly and clearly. Of course, you don’t want to come across as arrogant, but show that you genuinely believe in yourself and your opinions.
Honesty and integrity are both things that go hand in hand with sincere confidence, and can inspire confidence in others. They’ll know that your business is worth investing in, and should be motivated to help it succeed.
2. Work on Your Verbal Communication Skills
When it comes to people skills, your ability to verbally communicate with your team is paramount! This includes knowing when not to talk and when to listen instead, as well as when to ask questions – you can often learn a lot from employee feedback.
Strong verbal communication skills can help you gain a deeper connection with your staff, as they will feel listened to and understood. And when you are open with them about things like business policies and goals, your employees will feel informed, as well as trusted.
3. Learn How to Handle Conflict
In just about any business, unfortunately conflict is inevitable. There will always be friction between individuals of different temperaments or opinions. The way you handle this conflict will say a lot about you as a person and as a leader.
So, what’s the best way to handle conflict? The main thing to keep in mind is that you need to move quickly, before the issue escalates. Take immediate action to resolve the problem, working with others to find a solution that satisfies everyone involved.
4. Try to Assert Yourself
Not everyone is naturally assertive, but with practice, you may be able to put yourself out there more often. For many people, the issue is overthinking. They’ll convince themselves that they won’t be contributing anything of value, so will keep quiet. You have to say what’s on your mind, even if you’re uncertain that it’s meaningful – someone else may be able to take inspiration from your idea, even if it’s not fully formed when you articulate it.
Another thing to bear in mind is that your colleagues don’t want to have to guess what you’re thinking. So don’t just speak up, make sure you’re articulating yourself well too. This will help your team to understand you better personally as well as professionally, and they will be able to connect with you more easily.
5. Give Your Undivided Attention
When speaking with others, it’s essential to give your undivided attention, not appearing distracted or uninterested. So try to make eye contact, be responsive, and don’t appear impatient, such as by glancing at your phone at regular intervals. You should listen to the other person with genuine interest, and ask questions where appropriate.
All of these things will leave a positive impression with your team, which can lead to much stronger interpersonal relationships, and allow you to build a solid network of people around you. An inviting presence can furthermore cause people to gravitate towards you, and bring you to mind more easily.
Putting Your People Skills Into Action
Developing the people skills above may take time. And even if you’re naturally good at interacting with others, there’s always room for improvement! The main thing to remember is that you need to treat each person as an individual – not everyone will react in the same way to things like conflict resolution, for example. Addressing every team member on an individual level also shows them that you genuinely care about them, and are not just following a blanket interpersonal policy.
Connecting with your employees can lead to great things – you can build deep, impactful relationships, decreasing your turnover rate, and creating a culture of loyalty. It’s therefore important to work on your people skills, constantly improving them as you move forward in your career.