Interpersonal skills and leadership go hand in hand. It’s not likely you’ll be in a leadership position if you don’t have some interpersonal skills, also referred to as people skills. Leaders communicate with diverse groups of people that include employees, other leaders within your company as well as people that represent other companies such as vendors.
There aren’t many companies that don’t need leaders who have the ability to interact with others on multiple levels. With strong interpersonal skills and leadership abilities, you may be able to advance in your own company or bring valuable skills to new opportunities in a different organization.
What Interpersonal Skills Help Build Strong Leaders?
Relationships between staff members have a huge impact on the success of a company. Effective leaders have the ability to cultivate positive relationships. Your interactions with others include a range of behaviors that include active listening and emotional intelligence. Leaders need the ability to motivate others and inspire a productive team. They also need to be able to have difficult conversations such as addressing poor performance.
Interest in Others
Genuine interest in the perspectives of others on the team is a characteristic of effective leaders. Encourage others on your team to let you know what’s on their minds. When staff knows that you’re interested in hearing their ideas, opinions and concerns, they’re likely to be more open. Offer empathy and understanding and let others know that their thoughts and ideas matter to you and to the organization.
Always treat others with respect even when their perspectives are very different than yours. Pay attention to what they’re saying, but also pay attention to nonverbal cues such as body language or facial expressions. Earning the trust of your team members requires taking the time to listen and letting them know you have their best interests in mind.
Communicating with clarity is a valued skill in those who hold leadership roles. Both written and verbal communication skills are needed to let staff know your expectations, to keep them apprised of new developments and to define the role of each member of the team. You may need to be able to lead team-building exercises or to offer presentations to instruct or inform others and you need to be able to set expectations and accountability.
Managing Conflict in the Workplace
Interpersonal skills are also needed when you encounter conflict in the workplace which could be between individuals or departments. Skills are needed to recognize when you need to intervene and how you can help staff members come to a peaceful resolution. Skills needed include the ability to manage your own emotions along with de-escalation skills and mediation or negotiation skills.
Workplace conflicts are often related to ineffective leadership. Work on learning to get to the root of any conflicts that are happening in your workplace and brainstorming solutions that work for those in conflict.
Improving Interpersonal Skills and Leadership Abilities
Good communication skills come naturally to some, but if you’re not someone who was born with good interpersonal skills, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn or improve your interpersonal skills. Work on continually improving your interpersonal skills by taking classes or participating in workshops in person or online. Look for ways to practice leadership and communication skills and consider obtaining feedback from a mentor or coach either individually or through group coaching sessions.
To be an effective leader, it’s important to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses and work to improve any areas that need it. Striving to improve your interpersonal skills can help you to be the best leader you can be.
Reach out to Peaceful Leaders Academy to learn more about improving your interpersonal skills and leadership abilities.