What would you do to improve your interpersonal skills? Last time we looked at what interpersonal skills are, and why having strong ones leads to success.
Now it’s time to get down to work!
Here are four activities you can do to improve your relationships and boost your professional and personal sociability. Trust me, it’s worth the effort!
Activity 1: Improving Existing Relationships
Create a chart with four columns with these headings: Person’s Name, Quality of Relationship (1-5 scale), Goals for Improving Relationship, and Due Date.
Now list the people with whom you work regularly. Fill in the chart, evaluating your relationship with each person (on a scale of 1-5 in which 1 is the best and 5 is the worst) and setting goals toward improving your relationships with these individuals. Make sure you list something positive you can do for everyone, including people you already get along very well with.
Be sure to set dates for all your goals, and then hold yourself accountable!
Activity 2: Ask for Honest Feedback
Ask several people you trust for their feedback on your leadership style. Choose people at a variety of levels of your organization such as, management, peers or employees.
Make an appointment with each person to talk formally. Use the following questions as a guide to your discussion. Remember to be open and not defensive.
- How would you describe my leadership style?
- What do I do well in my role as a leader?
- What do others do better? How could I improve my skills?
- Am I people oriented?
- Are there any specific situations you thought I handled particularly well?
- Are there any specific situations you thought I could have handled better? What did you think I should have done?
- Do I seem assertive but not overbearing, or am I too forceful in stating my desires and plans?
Activity 3: Review of Your Skills
Ask someone you trust to observe you as you present a new idea or project to others. Have the person take notes and give you feedback on how you handled the following:
- Presenting yourself
- Presenting your ideas
- Sounding enthusiastic and positive about your plans
- Persuading others that your idea would benefit them or those they serve
- Politely fielding questions and managing disagreement
- Being assertive but not aggressive
- Other areas observed during your attempt to persuade someone of the merits of your idea or plan
Activity 4: Observing Others
Make a point of observing people in your organization who are particularly good at gaining support and agreement from others. Answer these questions:
- What technique does each person use to persuade people?
- How do they present themselves?
- How do they present their ideas?
- How do they handle disagreements and conflict?
- What do you like best about how they present new ideas or programs?
Remember, communicating effectively, building rapport, and relating well to all kinds of people are essential skills for any successful person. And, one can never stop getting better at them! So I challenge you today to get going on these activities – you, your organization, your circle of acquaintances and family, all will be happier for it!